Including these students in the regular classes and giving them the technical assistance needed to follow a regular school curriculum is a crucial step to break the stigma, head teacher Nating’a says. “This helps learners see that ‘this disability cannot stop me from achieving what I want’. They see that they can make it in life,” he adds.
Long-term, this will make a big difference, and we can have teachers too with disabilities in the future.
Jacon NATING’A, LWF head teacher, Peace Primary, Kakuma
“But there is also a spirit of responsibility to this, with non-impaired students becoming the helpers who make sure those with disabilities can keep up with their tasks. Long-term, this will make a big difference, and we can have teachers too with disabilities in the future,” Nating’a reflects.
Being accepted as normal
One who experiences the inclusive practices at Peace Primary school is 24-year-old student Wuor Gai, who is without eye-sight. He is older than his fellow students, like refugee students whose education was interrupted because of the conflict they fled from, but now want to take the chance to learn.
A refugee from South Sudan, Gai arrived in Kakuma from Juba with his aunt in 2016, and says he went to a different school before starting in Peace Primary. “This school is different,” Gai says, who uses a braille typewriter, while the other students in his class practice handwriting. “When I finish school, I want to become a teacher.”
And while applying a concept of inclusive education can be life-changing for individual students, there is also a long-term gain expected at a broader level from applying inclusive education, says Atieno Fellian Dorcas, the head teacher of Shabele Primary School. The school has just over 3,000 students, among them a group of hearing-impaired students taught with support from a sign-language learning assistant.
“The important thing is to avoid issues of stigma, for other learners to accept these students’ disability not as something strange but something normal. This way they will also accept them in society long-term,” she says.
LWF currently teaches 2,174 students with disabilities in Kakuma’s Primary schools. Another 245 children with disabilities attend preprimary or early childhood development institutions managed by LWF.