International Day for Persons with Disabilities

December 03, 2014Calla McCabe

Today, December 3, is the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.  This day was adopted in 2006 as a promise to all persons with disabilities that they would have a right to an inclusive education at all learning levels.  In a statement made by the former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, it is now known how little has been done to service those with disabilities.  Over 150 million students with disabilities remain excluded from schools and are denied their right to a quality education.  In many countries there is a blatant lack of policy directed at helping and providing those with disabilities with an education.  Below are a few programs that have committed themselves to providing education and educational resources to schools, programs and students with disabilities.

Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted is one of a very limited number of non-state and non-fee paying primary schools offering academic and rehabilitation services to blind and visually impaired children in 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.  Since its establishment, Pacelli has maintained 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.  Read more here...

Noida Deaf Society Vocational Training Program works to mainstream India's deaf community through quality education and specialized vocational training to enhance their employability quotient, ultimately leading to gainful employment.  the Nodia Deaf Society NDS has successfully impacted the lives of over 4,000 deaf children and youth and facilitated employment for over 900 youth in companies across sectors ranging from hospitality, retail, information technology, banking, print and publishing, education, textile and manufacturing, among others. Today, NDS has five centers in four states of India - Rajasthan, Harayana, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh. NDS's beneficiaries belong to underprivileged sections of society. Learn more here...

Family Educational Services Foundation (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. Read more here...

GRACE Pakistan aims to raise awareness among parents, teachers, and communities about enrolling all children, especially girls and children with disabilities, into primary school and to create accessible and safe environments in existing public and private primary schools for children with special needs. GRACE Association was piloted to raise awareness about the needs of children with disabilities, and to create an inclusive environment in primary schools that is safe and accessible for all children. GRACE works with existing public and private primary schools in the extreme northern areas of Pakistan, namely the Gilgit Baltistan region. Parents, teachers and communities are targeted to raise their awareness about discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, language, religion, nationality, social origin, and economic condition. Learn more here...

To learn more about this topic, check out...

  • MoCeDET's ECD Program, in Kenya, aims to improve the delivery of quality education to deaf children through teacher training, specialized curriculum, and community sensitization.
  • Siyakwazi provides learning support for students, irrespective of disabilities or learning difficulties. This takes place in rural Ugu district of South Africa through partnerships with crèches, schools, parents, and therapists to identify and support students with special needs, as well as supporting educators to best assist all the students in their classes.
  • Inclusive Education Western Cape supports and advocates for inclusive practices in South African schools for students with learning difficulties, disabilities or other special needs, through advocacy initiatives, awareness campaigns, training workshops on inclusive education, and support networks.

"We cannot continue leaving children with disabilities behind. Let us commit to making these children a priority by ensuring that inclusion is at the basis of all education planning."  Follow along with the conversation today on Twitter using #IDPD.

Photograph provided by Siyakwazi.

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