Disability does NOT mean Inability. Would I be Empowered Enough?
The World Health Organization defines disability as an umbrella term that covers three dimensions, impairment in a person’s body structure or function or mental functioning; examples of impairments include loss of a limb, loss of vision, or memory loss. Activity limitation, such as difficulty seeing, hearing, walking, or problem-solving. Generations have been generations of people with such disabilities taken carelessly and have no access to social services like education, healthcare, work, and more. Those people have been behind in most sectors, and yet as human beings, human rights have to be universal, inalienable, indivisibility, and interdependence. (Unfpa, 2020). There could not be a critical room for these human rights principles. Within this article, the focus and awareness will be raised around education and health to vulnerable children with disabilities in Rwanda. It is confusing to realize a human being out of school development and healthcare services because of his body formation. That sounds to me as a heartless or punitive social discrimination to the humankind. That makes me stand and cry for these innocent children who did not choose to live in such an exclusion living type as well as their body formation or mental capacity.
# LET ME LEARN.
# HOW PAST
Back in 1995, after the genocide against Tutsi happened in 1994, the Rwanda National Statistics showed 8000 people with disabilities in Rwanda. The last census showed 446 in 2016, 553 of people with disabilities in 2017 aged above five ages. Thus, the number has been reached at the level of almost six times in 2012- 2013. Then, whether the number is correct or not, they deserve the accessibility of human rights in both angles. However, they have been lagging back in education. One of the African heroes said:” education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the World” Nelson Mandela. He also stated that education is the key to eliminating gender inequality, to reducing poverty, to creating a sustainable planet, to preventing needless deaths and illness, and to fostering peace.
WHY EDUCATION EXCLUSION RATHER INCLUSION TO DISABLED KIDS?
As mentioned earlier stanza, the number of children with disabilities has been lower in Rwanda. In 2016, Rwanda National statistics presented data that 1545 were in enrolled in a nursery, and this number has decreased to 1362. This problem of a few disabled children at schools also goes with the limited number of special needs education trained teachers. (Minedic, 2017) For instance, 246 teachers trained teachers regarding special needs education in 2016 and 314 trained teachers in 2017. (Minedic, 2017) Both trained teachers altogether are 560 trained teachers in the entire country. On the other hand, there was no school with adapted infrastructure and materials for students with disabilities in 2016. Still, the country tried and had 183 schools with adapted infrastructure and materials for students with disabilities supportive resources. In percentages, 5.7% of the schools had equipped schools that foster both children, including those with disabilities. (Minedic, 2017). This sounds problematic for a disabled child to learn without supportive learning resources and adaptable buildings. Typically, it is not easy to get the disability data from several angles, which makes it complicated to draw a set of opinions or conclusions in this field. Above, the data shows how predicaments face children with disabilities in attending school in Rwanda.
THE ROLE OF KEY EDUCATION PARTNERS.
Various international Organisations try to supplement the government of Rwanda’s education system to ensure that inclusion is enhanced in primary and secondary education levels. Those are like Volunteer Services Organization (VSO), Humanity and Inclusion Rwanda, and more. These organizations offer free comprehensive training to teachers, supplies teaching and learning materials, which makes everyone feel welcome in the class. These organizations do the work, but there is still a massive gap in identifying the data of children with disabilities in schools. These organizations do not specify the real numbers of disabled children in schools. Chris Malimantanja was a VSO inclusive education expert, he was interviewed about the number of children with disabilities in school, and responded is – hard to get as some people don’t willingly provide the information. According to UNICEF, 1% of children with disabilities were enrolled in a secondary school in 2018. (Unicef, 2018) Whereby Volunteer Services Overseas(VSO) has been in the process of working with the Ministry of education to remove the barriers to education inclusion due to having children with disabilities in school.
Volunteer services had conducted a case study titled overcoming exclusion in Nyagatare. A VSO Leadership Mentor in the Nyagatare District reported that headteachers have inclusion at the heart of their mission statement. As part of their efforts to build genuinely inclusive schools, they went out into the community to actively encourage families to send their children with Special Education Needs (SEN(and Disability into school. These headteachers have been successful, to a degree. As a result of her determination and resourcefulness, there are now several children with physical disabilities on a roll and attending their school. However, they encountered barriers within the community and at the family level. Many families were embarrassed by their child’s weakness or could see little point in providing a uniform and equipment for a child who they perceived as having ‘no future.’ They also encountered children who had already been excluded from school and others for whom physical access was a barrier. Meanwhile, some minds of people are still fixed, and in need of urgent training for them to have awareness about inclusive education and particularly individual differences.
“ DISABILITY IS NOT INABILITY” Nasir AL khan
# DISABLE BUT ABLE.
“A person’s determination, hope, and belief of getting success should be strong enough to face the ups and downs of life because the life is not a constant line which always remains and goes with the same pace and speed, but it is full of hurdles In this world some people are born fit and fine where some people are born with disability.” Nasir AL khan
In this world, many disabled persons have reached success, and many able persons are left behind. This gives more sense to the hashtag disable but able. The idea is a person can be physically disabled or deaf and have mental ability. Please click on the following video links and see the success of people with disabilities who started hands made products in Rwanda. Please click on the following video links and see the success of people with disabilities who started hands made products in Rwanda. Click
The major successfully 8 people with disabilities. Watch the whole video.
CALL TO ACTION ( BE RECOMMENDED)
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It is argued that the government of Rwanda should adopt a shared target of reaching 20% of the national budget for education by 2017 and 2018. The government of Rwanda should also consider creating a particular budget line for special educational needs. The government should prioritize giving knowledge and practical to people with disabilities and hold accountable for the adapted resources to supplement the needs of all students. It has also to monitor closely budget execution within all programs. Where budget underspends occur, the government of Rwanda could consider timely re-allocations to support inclusive and special education as well as ensure that none left out of school. The evolution of the education sector’s strategic plan should seek to address the gap in curriculum and provision for children with severe sensory, behavioral, and physical impairments. To act quickly to ensure that the children with various disabilities are an integrated part of the educational reforms, rather than a subsequent add-on. This will support the government to keep tracking the evolution and their operational progress during the implementation of the improvements instead of think -of them later. Lastly, but not the list. Besides government accountability, non-governmental organizations should also cooperate with the government closely when supplementing the national education plans as well as reporting on time. This will keep updating both sides to know what and who is more urgently needs the support.
RESOURCES AND REFERENCES
- Unfpa.org. (2020). Human Rights Principles. [online] Available at: https://www.unfpa.org/resources/human-rights-principles [Accessed 2 Mar. 2020].
- Minedic, G. (2017). [online] Mineduc.gov.rw. Available at: https://mineduc.gov.rw/fileadmin/user_upload/pdf_files/Rwanda_Education_Statistics_2017.pdf [Accessed 2 Mar. 2020].Plan International (2018). [online] Google.com. Available at: https://www.google.com/searchq=Inclusive+education+images+with+disabled+kids+in+Rwanda&tbm=isch&hl=en&ved=2ahUKEwjV68eYmoHoAhUR5IUKHVGNDZIQBXoECAEQJw&biw=1079&bih=493 [Accessed 4 Mar. 2020].
- Maynard, A. (2011). Disabled people’s ability to work isn’t about whether they can hold a pen. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/joepublic/2011/feb/16/welfare-reform-disabled-people-barriers-to-work [Accessed 3 Mar. 2020].
- Rajendran, M. (2019). IMPORTANCE OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION: THE ROLE OF SCHOOL TEACHERS. [online] Academia.edu. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/8058036/IMPORTANCE_OF_INCLUSIVE_EDUCATION_THE_ROLE_OF_SCHOOL_TEACHERS [Accessed 14 Feb. 2019].
Well, I like the research outcome and hopefully, we are going to see the impact.
Thank you, Steven. I can’t wait to keep engaging with you in the future.
i like the advocacy being made. I have a question about what is being done to change some mindset that disabled people are not part of the contributing part of the society.
Thank you, Elie, for the comment. African Free Child Organisation has a plan to reach out to as many communities as possible to communicate the inclusivity practicals. We believe this can help in tackling community attitudes that many times harm the feeling of people with disabilities.