In May 2014, the Tribal Foundation awarded a donation of £15,000 towards the new Access to Inclusive Education for Disabled Children project in Kafue, a rural district south of Lusaka in Zambia. To this date, the project is over half complete.
Inclusive Education in Zambia
The UN estimates that of the 61 million children out of school, one third have disabilities. Children with disabilities are one of the most deeply marginalised groups in Zambia and are disproportionately excluded from primary education. The exclusion they face means they lose out on the lifelong benefits offered by education: access to employment, greater social and economic security, and opportunities for participation in society. Problems including accessibility barriers and untrained teachers are compounded by prejudice and discrimination meaning that the needs of children with disabilities are rarely understood or addressed. Parents are often ashamed of their children and don’t believe in educating them, so they are hidden away indoors. A lack of inclusive education policy and insufficient resources constrain governments’ ability to make a commitment to the cost of inclusive education, exacerbating these issues.
Disability is both cause and consequence of poverty. In order to break the vicious cycle of disability, marginalisation and poverty, provisions must be made to support children with disabilities into primary education. This will maximise their chances of reaching secondary and further education or other income generating opportunities.
With assistance from the Tribal Foundation, LCD has spent the last three years supporting children with disabilities to attend mainstream schools alongside non-disabled children, in Chongwe and Kafue districts in Lusaka Province. Our model supports primary schools to adapt their provision to include disabled children alongside their non-disabled peers. Supporting access to education in this way enables children with disabilities to live the lives they choose and reach their full potential. In order to achieve our goals, we work closely with schools, teachers, families, communities and policy makers, thereby ensuring sustainable impact.
Activities and Targets: Year 3
In the third year of the project, LCD would like to continue conducting medical and educational assessments of children, including sight, hearing, learning disability and providing assistive devices. We have consistently and significantly exceeded our targets on this activity throughout the project to date.
- Identify additional children with disabilities in local area and their support requirements to enable enrolment.
- Enrol 60 children into primary schools.
- Support a total of 180 children with disabilities to continue to progress academically and socially.
- Complete any outstanding buildings adaptations, including ramps, pathways, toilets and water sources.
- Continue to strengthen and support child-to-child clubs and parents groups in the remaining 9 schools.
- Build on the awareness-raising activities already conducted throughout communities across Kafue, to ensure that attitudes towards people with disabilities are changed sustainably before the project closes.
- Continue to link schools with referral centres and support services, such as Kafue District Hospital, Beit Cure, Zambia Italian Hospital and Lusaka Eye Hospital.
- Review capacity building of partners and stakeholders such as Cheshire Homes Society of Zambia and Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities, ensuring systems and processes for inclusion of disabled children in the 12 schools are maintained beyond the life of the project.
The Tribal Foundation’s support of the Kafue Access to Inclusive Education Project in its final year is critical for ensuring that quality learning and retention support is provided to the 120 children already enrolled through the project. Not only this, but completion of the project is essential to embedding the systems and support structures that will ensure inclusive education is possible in Kafue for the long term. The support in the third and final year will mean an additional 60 disabled children receive health assessments, medical assistance and enrolment in school. It will change attitudes towards disability in the community for the long-term, ensuring that future generations of disabled children can access primary education alongside their non-disabled peers. The continued funding will improve attainment, increase confidence and improve social participation. Most importantly of all, it will give disabled children the chance to make new friends.
We truly value our ongoing partnership with the Tribal Foundation and are incredibly grateful for everything that they have done for us and for disabled children. The funding support has had an enormous impact on the lives of disabled children and their families.