School is giving Karen the best start

Stories | November 23, 2022

Not only is Karen a child enjoying being included at school, but she’s made the most of her opportunity too – she graduated from primary school second in her class!

Her life of achievement and growing independence is in contrast to her early years. Being born blind, she remained shy and dependent on her mother for everything. Karen wasn’t able to move around, dress, wash or feed herself. However, over time her parents noticed she was very bright and wanted her to go to school.

They approached staff at a local resource centre in Papua New Guinea. Karen was able to learn orientation and mobility skills using a white cane. She attended therapy sessions at the Visual Impairment Unit of the resource centre and inclusive education teachers taught her how to read basic Braille.

Karen seated with other children in primary school in Papua New Guinea
Image: Karen seated in the centre of her primary school class in Papua New Guinea.
Karen’s lessons were transcribed into Braille so she could read the schoolwork at the same time as her classmates. An inclusive education officer also gave orientation training to the teachers and conducted awareness training for Karen’s classmates.

Outside of school Karen is a big help with housework and assisting her mother at the local market. Thanks to her schooling, Karen can calculate how much change to give by feeling the coins. She is certainly well on her way to a fulfilling life.

With thanks to CBM NZ and partner Callan IERC.

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