5 Innovative Programs Supporting Students with Disabilities

May 09, 2014Kristen Grauer

This week's feature image is courtesy of Bridging the Gap - Technology Based Resources for Deaf Education. Learn more about this CEI program below!

The week of May 4-10, we are joining the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) in celebrating Global Action Week 2014 - this year's theme is education and disability. Here at CEI we recognize that more attention and resources should be directed towards children with disabilities to meet their unique education needs. As GCE notes, approximately 1 billion people across the globe live with a disability, an estimated 93 million of whom are children. These children are more likely to be out of school than their non-disabled peers; and for those that do attend school, they are more likely to drop-out early. 

It is critical that the international community advocates for the increased support of children with disabilities. It is equally important to commend those individuals and organizations that are already making a difference in these children's lives. This week we're highlighting five innovative programs from our database that are improving the quality of learning for children with disabilities in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. 

1. Bridging the Gap - Technology Based Resources for Deaf Education | Pakistan

FESF aims to undertake extensive efforts to compile word lists for the Pakistan Sign Language (PSL) Visual Dictionary, documenting existing signs and creating new signs (where needed) in collaboration with the deaf community. In addition, experienced third-party contractors have been hired by FESF for filming, editing, digitization, and online media development. Considering that these resources will also be made available to the public, this project also has the potential to benefit hundreds of thousands of adults of all ages who suffer from hearing disabilities.

Through the development of PSL based tools; FESF aims to improve the literacy levels of deaf students in Grades 1-9 (as the material can be used at various grade levels), parents’ and teachers’ ability to communicate with the deaf, and access to literary resources for the deaf.

2. Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted | Nigeria

Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted is a fully residential, special needs school established to cater for blind and visually impaired youth, most of whom face significant academic and psychosocial challenges. The school is an initiative of a former Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Leo Hale Taylor, and was officially opened on June 16 1962 following permission granted by the Nigerian Government for the establishment of a special school for the education of the visually impaired. Since its establishment, Pacelli has maintained a policy of maintaining its non-governmental and non-fee paying status. Despite the economic challenges the country has gone through in the over the decades - which have seen several government schools turned into fee-paying institutions - Pacelli continues to fund their students' education, maintain their facilities, and provide for the welfare of the learners.

3. Chaeli Campaign Inclusive Education Enrichment Centre | South Africa

The majority of students at the Chaeli Enrichment Centre were deemed “unteachable” due to limited or lack of functional communication abilities. The center employs two educators who are supported by two facilitators. Five of the students have no functional language abilities. The center is modeled on a typical pre-primary school day and runs four days a week. The center also offers on-site therapy where required, including occupational, speech, and physiotherapy, and has designed teaching material to implement in primary schools to address common barriers to learning. The center's educators currently present these modules in various schools, but have prepared teaching materials to enable educators to replicate the teaching of these modules throughout schools in South Africa.

4. Safina Women's Association | Tanzania

Safina Women’s Association (SAWA) was founded in 1996 by a group of twelve widowed women who came together to rebuild their lives, support themselves, and in turn improve the well being of women and children.  Located in Tanzania, SAWA has been running a nursery school since 2000 and a primary school since 2001 on its own premises, obtained in 1999 from the Morogoro Municipality.  With a view to promote inclusive education and to create opportunities for socialization, SAWA’s nursery and primary schools accommodate disabled children including deaf children, children with autism, and albino children.  Moreover, SAWA also runs informal education programs targeted to children who are above the traditional enrollment age, especially aged ten or above.

5. MoCeDET ECD Program | Kenya

The Model Centre for Deaf Education and Training (MoCeDET) was formed as an center for ECD and early primary school aged children in 2006 with the aim to improve the quality of education for deaf children in Kajiado. The region has over 500 registered deaf children (they have been tested by the Ministry of Education) who do not receive quality education because of a lack of specialized schools. Social workers from MoCeDET liaise with local government to identify the children that they can support through the ECD center. After the children are identified, they are then enrolled, evaluated and placed in MoCeDET.

To learn more about this topic, we encourage you to explore the following resources on the CEI website: 
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