Weekday support in Athidiya
Weekday support for those with disabilities was officially launched at the centre in Athidiya today. For over 2 years, teachers from the RCCI special school have been providing educational support to those with disabilities at the centre on a Saturday. Now finally, we can offer support in the week to those who do not go to school. Initially this is for one morning a week but we hope to expand to two mornings a week in the next month.
Disability Resource Centre
These sessions, although they target those not in school, are not long-term supposed to replace a normal school environment. Our plans are ambitious (but achievable!) and we plan to support those not in school in finding suitable places as well as offering much needed medical and therapeutic support with the support of contacts in these areas that we are slowly building up on. The plan is for these sessions to be part of our ‘Disability Resource Centre’, an all-round service that will support those with disabilities and their families in all areas of their lives covering education, medical support, financial support, employment opportunities and above all inclusion!
It has taken a while to get where we are today. We have had to build trust with those who benefit from the support and get their families on board which has not been an easy task in a country and area where those with disabilities are often considered ‘not worth educating’. When I think about the huge amount of effort that has been made by so many people to be where we’re at today I feel proud of the journey that we have all come on and the results speak for themselves. Parents trust us and come to us often with quite tricky issues that they remain unsure about how to deal with. Children and young adults look forward to the disability sessions and there is always a ‘buzz’ at the centre on a Saturday morning with lots of smiling, laughing faces from children and staff alike. Those with disabilities are more and more included in the general activities of the centre. Many took part in the Christmas concert and 2 of the young adults with learning disabilities attend the sewing class where their skills have developed to the point where they are making saleable handicrafts. There has also been tangible progress for those who come regularly for support.
Here are a few examples…Poojani, a young girl with Down’s Syndrome, still misses her mum when she comes to the sessions but is now able to sit for short periods of time and complete activities that support the first stages of learning. Lakshan was excluded from mainstream school as he was considered ‘hyperactive’. He now sits, listens and learns. He has speech difficulties but is able to show the teachers in other ways what he has learnt and how he has progressed. We celebrated their achievements with the usual lighting of the lamp ceremony and cake. Dhyami, the teacher from the RCCI School made a short speech and was able to talk to the parents there about the necessity of regular attendance and supporting with homework!
THANK YOU to everyone who has supported this project. It is making so much difference to some of the most vulnerable in Badowita.