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A teacher wearing a red shirt and track pants leads students to hold their hands above their heads
Mozambique

Physical education teacher levels the playing field

Hilario is a physical education teacher at Benfica Nova School in Mozambique, who also lives with a visual disability. With training from Humanity & Inclusion, his classes include a range of inclusive activities.

Hilario, who was born with a visual disability, has always loved sports and teaching. It only made sense for him to become a physical education teacher—and a Paralympic athlete.

When he started his job, Hilario faced challenges because the school was not adapted to his disability.

“In the beginning, we used paper timecards; the boxes were very small and I had real trouble reading them,” he says. “It was the same with the attendance books – the signature space was too small. It was exhausting. I talked to the school administration about it and now we've switched to a digital format, which is more comfortable for me.”

When it comes to teaching, Hilario has no trouble at all.

“I use theoretical rules and practical examples to help students understand my lessons,” he explains. 

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Training teachers to promote inclusion

Hilario did not have the opportunity to attend an inclusive school growing up, so he understands that children with disabilities can feel left out.

“As a student, I was accepted in class, but nothing was done to make me feel really included,” he adds.

Hilario has received inclusive education training from Humanity & Inclusion’s teams, and he hopes more educators learn inclusive practices for teaching students with and without disabilities.

"They taught us methods and gave us tips on how to include students with disabilities in our lessons," he explains. “I found it very instructive and now I can apply what I learned in my daily work. I can make sure that all my students have access to quality inclusive education.”

Passionate about his job, Hilario feels that his professional life has strengthened his autonomy and self-esteem.

“I chose to be a teacher so that I could make a difference through my work,” he continues. “My job is very fulfilling.” 

Paralympics experience

In addition to teaching, Hilario is also an athlete. He completed as a runner in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics runner.

“It was an amazing experience”, Hilario recalls. “I worked very, very hard to compete, but it wasn't just about competing or winning. It’s also really important to build strong relationships with your colleagues, so that you can celebrate these special moments together. As I’m a very sociable person, I talked to everyone. I tried to help my teammates. I was part masseur, part coach and part psychologist.”