Humanity & Inclusion’s inclusive education project in Gaza, in the Palestinian Territories, provides Nermeen and her daughter Shahed with personalized support and counseling at school and at home.
Shahed, 13, has a physical and learning disability. In the past, her mother, Nermeen, was not closely involved in her daughter's education and found it hard to convince her family to accept invitations from the school. "I didn’t take part in outdoor activities because I was afraid of the negative attitude of my family and friends,” says Nermeen. “I avoided situations where people might make comments or give me accusing looks. I had to stay at home.”
Perceptions of disability
A support group for parents of children with disabilities helped Nermeen overcome her concerns. “I made my daughter my priority. I chose to be strong and with support from the school and the group, I finally convinced my family. I’m free to take part in lots of different school activities now," she explains.
Bringing families out of isolation
The group gives parents a chance to share their daily experiences and problems. This successful initiative provides them with a support network inside and outside meetings. Mothers like Nermeen no longer feel alone: "If I have a problem, I know where to go.”
Looking forward to school
Teachers are in regular contact with Nermeen. They update her on her daughter's progress and use a liaison diary to exchange ideas with her, as they do with other parents. As a result, Shahed and her mother communicate with each other more, and she is more fulfilled. "She feels comfortable at school—she’s happy. She has made a lot of friends. When she wakes up, she can’t wait to go to school.”
Following multiple bouts of severe malaria, Sougleman, 8, lost much of her sense of hearing and ability to speak. “Despite the medical care, my daughter was left with permanent disabilities,” says Nagwabe, Sougleman’s father. “Suddenly, she could not hold an object with her hands like she used to. She did not hear much anymore and she was no longer able to speak.”
Once one of the most talented students in her class in Tandjoaré, Togo, Sougleman had to leave school for more than a year because of her illness. At home, she could not communicate with her family and she was totally dependent on others. However, her father, also a teacher, believed in her ability to go back to school and succeed in her studies.
Thanks to an inclusive education project launched by Humanity & Inclusion and its partner, Educate A Child, Sougleman was able to return to school. She received lessons in sign language and is being mentored Damipi Lamboni, a special needs teacher who works with children with hearing and intellectual disabilities.
Lamboni tutors students and helps them with homework. He also trains teachers in sign language so that they can communicate directly with students without hearing. This support had a huge impact in the classroom for students like Sougleman.
"I am very pleased to see positive changes in Sougleman,” says her teacher Koffi Kombate. “She is more involved during lessons and better included by her classmates. In many ways, she is ahead of many of the students without disabilities.”
"My wish is that she continues and succeeds in her school career,” says Sougleman’s father. “I am very optimistic.”
In addition to supporting special needs teachers like Damipi Lamboni, Humanity & Inclusion and its partner Educate a Child help children with disabilities and their families by connecting them with rehabilitation services, medical care, and other support. The organization also works with the government and local communities to promote the inclusion of children with disabilities in school.
In Nepal, most primary school students are unable to read at grade level. The outlook is dire for Nepali children with disabilities, since Nepali children’s capacity and adaptability to learn are rarely screened.
Starting this month, Humanity & Inclusion will tip the balance so more Nepali children can thrive at school and become strong readers. The project, Reading for All, is possible thanks to a generous USAID grant.
The transformative project comes at a perfect moment. In 2017, Humanity & Inclusion (then working under the name ‘Handicap International’) conducted a pilot screening. With funding from World Education and UNICEF, our teams met children between the ages of four and seven years old to assess them for functional limitations. The teams found 26% of children were at risk of at least some kind of hearing, sight, mobility, communication, learning or concentration limitation, with 9.4% classified as having a disability.
“We are thrilled that USAID Nepal placed its trust in Humanity & Inclusion by funding this important reading project,” said Willy Bergogne, Country Director for the Nepal office of Humanity & Inclusion. “Together, we’ll reach thousands of Nepali children with disabilities, supporting them to achieve better reading outcomes and promoting inclusive education all over Nepal.”
The three-year project focuses on children in grades 1 – 3 in the 16 districts participating in Nepal’s early grade reading program. Working together with local and national partners, the project will improve data quality on children with disabilities.
The team will also enhance institutional and technical capacity to deliver quality reading instruction and support to children with disabilities. Currently, Nepal’s teachers are highly dependent on traditional teaching methods, with little supportive supervision and feedback from the children. The result is a significant communication gap between educator and learner. By 2021, Reading for All will have reached 6,775 head teachers in each of the targeted districts.
Finally, the team will test inclusive instructional models so they can benefit more children with disabilities. Trainers will ensure that teaching and curriculum development professionals in Nepal have the skills to improve and sustain the Reading for All tools and results.
Partnering for success
Partners at World Education, Nepal Association for the Welfare of the Blind, National Federation of the Deaf Nepal, and Disable Empowerment and Communication Center are helping to implement the Reading for All project.
“With strong partners in the Government of Nepal, among the USAID Nepal team, and with other local actors, this ambitious initiative is set up to help Nepali children with disabilities to succeed,” Bergogne adds.
In the project's first year, Reading for All will reach 2,071 schools in four districts (likely Banke, Surkhet, Bhaktapur, and Kaski). Teams will train head teachers, who will then lead early detection screenings for 178,117 children through grade 3. In its second year, after fine-tuning the process, Reading for All will roll out to the remaining 12 districts, reaching about 557,828 students.
Photo caption: Deaf students learn in an inclusive classroom in Nepal.
Inclusive Education for all | My chance to tell world leaders not to leave children with disabilities behind
This post was written by Monique Guenoune and originally appeared on the Global Partnership for Education's blog.
My name is Monique Guenoune and I am 23 years old. I live in Rufisque, a small town close to Dakar. I was born deaf, along with 4 of my 5 brothers and sisters. My parents are also both deaf and we use sign language to communicate in my family. Almost all of our family’s friends are also deaf.
It was difficult to get an education when I grew up. The local school did not accept children like me, because they thought we couldn’t learn; none of the teachers could use sign language and they weren’t trained in teaching deaf children.
An impossible choice: education or family
My father found out about a school for children with hearing impairments in Dakar, and I went there for a while, but I had to live away from home in a host family who treated me very badly. When my father found out about it, he came and brought me back home. He then inquired at a private school for deaf children, but he couldn’t afford to send me there. After this, I stayed at home and started to do some odd jobs like cleaning.
When a local association started to offer sign language literacy courses, my brothers and sisters started to attend. Transport was expensive and it was dangerous to travel along the busy roads with many horses, carts, and cars. My sister was hit by a horse along the way, because she couldn’t hear it coming. My dad decided it was best for all of us to stay at home and so none of the children of the family attended school.
A new program offers hope
Then in 2016 a community-based worker – Babacar – called our house. He could sign and told us that the local school was now becoming inclusive. The teachers were being trained in sign language and in inclusive teaching methods, and he himself had been recruited as a teaching assistant to support the deaf children and the teacher in class.
Now my younger brother and sister (both still primary aged) would be welcomed there! I was so pleased that they had been given the chance that I never had. My sister is doing so well there now, she is at the top of her class! She is showing everyone that being deaf doesn’t stop you from making it to the top.
Monique's sister Marieme and her classmates at an inclusive school in Senegal.
A chance to speak up in front of world leaders
People from Humanity & Inclusion, who support this inclusive school, came to my house with a sign language interpreter and they told me about an important education conference happening in Dakar.
I found out that it was a huge international conference, with world leaders, coming to talk about the importance of education and how they needed to spend much more money on education to make sure that ALL children have the chance to go to school.
They asked if I could speak at the conference about the importance of education for children with disabilities, on behalf of my younger siblings and all the children with disabilities in Senegal. I was very honored to do that, although a little bit nervous at first since I have never attended a conference, let alone spoken at one!
Getting the necessary resources for inclusive education
But once I understood what I needed to say, and that people just wanted to hear my story and the story of my siblings, I felt more relaxed. It was exciting to be part of the youth forum and to give my opinion when they asked questions about what needed to go into the youth statement. I was very pleased that all the other youth advocates in the room listened to what I had to say, through my interpreter, and they included my points in the statement.
I made the point that teacher training should include a focus on sign language and on trainings for children with all types of disabilities, and that children with disabilities should be able to go to school.
The next day I was on stage twice. I was pleased that the audience seemed to be interested in what I was saying. The moderator asked me who should be the best person to champion inclusive education in Senegal. And I said the economics minister, as he is the man with the money, and money is what we need to make sure every child gets an education!
After this session, I gave an interview and lots of people seemed interested to hear my story. It was exciting that people wanted to hear what I had to say. Some people also were interested to learn some basic signs, including some of my new friends from the youth forum.
All children deserve an education
My two days at the conference were an exciting and a new experience, and a real change to my everyday life. In fact this conference has given me a new focus to renew my own education as an adult.
I was glad to have the chance to bring my message to such a big audience and to hopefully make a difference.
I want people to realize that children with disabilities, like deaf children, have just as much right to go to school as any other child.
They shouldn’t be left behind any more. I am glad things are changing, from the days when I went to school, and was forced to drop out.
Ten-year-old Aicha lives in Guinea-Bissau. She is energetic, fearless, and always on the move; running, playing, climbing as though life has no barriers. While at school, she's the life of the playground at recess.
So it’s hard to believe that only two years ago, Aicha wasn’t attending school at all. Difficulties with her vision and sensitive skin as a result of albinism meant that her parents felt it was best for her to stay at home. She interacted mainly with her family and lacked the confidence to make friends. That is, until she met Humanity & Inclusion.
Our team runs a project across West African countries to ensure that children like Aicha can attend school and build relationships with other children. We provide support to schools and teachers so that they can adapt their facilities and teaching methods, as well as help families to see the benefits of educating their children with disabilities.
Thanks to these interventions, Aicha is now completing her second year of primary school and is thriving. She loves math and learning to write, but most of all she loves to sing and to play!
Humanity & Inclusion ensures that 70,000 vulnerable children and children with disabilities can access their right to an education.
The inspiring image of Aicha and her friends was awarded first prize in the IDDC (International Disability and Development Consortium) photo contest and will be exhibited in Brussels from the 12th of February as part of European Disability and Development Week, 2018.
In West Africa, millions of children don’t complete elementary school. Some have never been to school. HI estimates that a third of these children have a disability. Our inclusive education program, which runs in nine West African countries, aims to ensure that all children have the opportunity to learn, play, and make friends at school and feel valued in their communities.Read more
Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action (2019)
Developed by Humanity & Inclusion, the International Disability Alliance (IDA), and UNICEF, the Guidelines assist humanitarian actors, governments and affected communities to coordinate, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate essential actions for the full and effective participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in all sectors and in all phases of humanitarian action. Download the Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action.
Developed by the Age and Disability Capacity Program (ADCAP), the inclusion standards will help organizations responding to crises to successfully identify and reach those most at risk, upholding the humanitarian principles by which they all must abide. Humanitarian organizations are committed to providing assistance and protection solely based on need and without discrimination. Yet older people and people with disabilities are routinely excluded from humanitarian responses, despite being among the most vulnerable. The Humanitarian inclusion standards for older people and people with disabilities provide guidance across all areas and at all stages of emergency response to ensure older people and people with disabilities are not left out. Download the humanitarian inclusion standards for older people and people with disabilities.
Written in conjunction with Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD), this white paper provides practical information and lessons learned on how multinational corporations can fully include people with disabilities into the workplace. Building off of information provided in HI’s 2016 white paper, Situation of Wage Employment of People with Disabilities: Ten Developing Countries in Focus, this paper offers six steps for companies to follow to ensure they're ready to welcome more colleagues with disability.
The paper explains how partnerships between businesses and NGOs are becoming more frequent as multinational companies stretch into new, middle-income markets. Together, they're collaborating to successfully recruit, hire and retain people with disabilities. This access to meaningful, waged labor helps to chip away at the unfortunate statistic that less than 20% of people with disabilities are working worldwide . Case studies from HI and LCD projects in North Africa, West Africa, South Asia, East Asia and South Africa are highlighted. View the report here.
The white paper is based on the results of a qualitative study of Humanity & Inclusion's inclusive livelihoods programs in 10 developing countries. The paper's goal is to increase wage employment of people with disabilities by providing employers with the best practices showcasing successful wage employment facilitated by Humanity & Inclusion and partner businesses, enterprises, and organizations. View the report here.
From January-October 2016, Humanity & Inclusion implemented a pilot testing of 3D printing technology for transtibial prosthesis in Togo, Madagascar and Syria. The aim of the study was to explore and test how physical rehabilitation services can be more accessible to people living in complex contexts via innovative technologies (such as 3D printing, treatment processes that use Internet technology, and tools) and decentralized services by bringing them closer to the patients. This scientific summary provides the context, the objectives, the methodology, the results of the study, and perspectives for the future.
This report is based on the results of a global consultation carried out in 2015 as a contribution to the World Humanitarian Summit and is intended to better identify the changes needed for a disability-inclusive humanitarian response. A total of 769 responses were collected through 3 online surveys targeting persons with disabilities, disabled people's organizations and humanitarian actors.
The responses show that persons with disabilities are strongly impacted when a crisis occurs: 54% of respondents with disabilities state they have experienced a direct physical impact, sometimes causing new impairments. 27% report that they have been psychologically, physically or sexually abused. Increased psychological stress and/or disorientation are other effects of the crisis for 38% of the respondents with disabilities. View the report here.
Children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence, an issue which is rarely talked about. This groundbreaking report by Humanity & Inclusion and Save the Children aims to shed some light on the problem. View report here.
Inclusive employment: How to develop projects which promote the employment of people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations (2011)
This research publication provides an assessment of the socio-economic circumstances facing people with disabilities in two Mozambique cities. View report here.
This policy paper defines accessibility and presents the operational strategy of Humanity & Inclusion in this area. View report here.
This is an action guide that presents approaches and reference tools in the field of inclusive local development. View report here.