|Posted on:||Thursday, 5th May, 2022|
CBM has been partnering with Elim Christian Vocational Training Centre for more than 15 years to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Benue State, Nigeria – ensuring they have better access to health, social, educational, economic and political services.
In this series of 3 blogs, we celebrate the achievements of the partnership by sharing some stories of participants and staff who have been part of this amazing project! In this first blog, we’ll be sharing stories about inclusive education…
CBM and Elim have been enabling students with disabilities to attend mainstream schools. This includes training teaching assistants to support students with disabilities, such as sign language interpretation to support students who are deaf or hard of hearing and guidance on the use of braille and slates to support students who are visually impaired.
Possible, 19, student
“I want to study law in the university because I want to be a lawyer. I want to be a lawyer because I want to defend the rights of the poor and people with disabilities.”
Possible is a visually impaired student enrolled in one of the 10 inclusive schools supported by Elim and CBM in Igede area of Benue State. The school is a boarding school with more than two hundred students, providing inclusive education to students with disabilities alongside students who do not have a disability.
“I started my school at the age of two but at the age of seven I dropped out because of the illness that resulted on loss of my sight.”
Possible was forced to drop out of school, because of his poor vision, missing out on nearly 4 vital years of education because his parents could not afford a special needs education and there were no schools providing inclusive education for people with disabilities.
When CBM and Elim started the inclusive education project in 2010, Possible was one of the first children to be enrolled. He immediately had access to resources like braille papers, slate for taking notes and stylus, and received support from Teaching Assistants like Reuben (see his story below!).
Now in Senior Secondary School Two (11th grade), Possible is optimistic about life and is hoping to complete his secondary education and afterwards go to a university to study medicine.
Possible is excited about his education and hopes that other people are given the same opportunity he has been given.
“I would like to appreciate CBM, thank you for remembering me. The time I started my education life I was not like this [visually impaired]; my condition changed things. But since Elim came to me they said I cannot remain like that. They help me to go to school and to be united with others.”
Reuben, 27, Teaching Assistant
“I work in this school to guide them (visually impaired students) how to write with braille teaching them to write braille correctly and also help them copy notes and explain what they do not understand in the class also.”
Reuben works as a teaching assistant in one of the partner mainstream schools with Elim. He became visually impaired himself through a work accident – he was working as a panel beater when the carbide from the welding machine exploded splashing into his eyes leaving him visually impaired. Someone noticed his condition and referred him to Elim, who supported him through secondary school and then at a school for blind students in Girin Plateau state Nigeria. Reuben now works with visually impaired students to teach them how to use braille in taking notes and how to learn in an inclusive classroom.
As well as supporting students, Reuben also has an important role in changing of attitudes towards disability in schools. Students can see that he, a person with visual impairment, is able to learn and teach in their school, helping to promote inclusion and acceptance.
Rhoda, 17, student
Rhoda is a 17-year-old student with hearing loss, attending one the inclusive schools working with Elim in Benue state, Nigeria. She is Senior Secondary School Two (11th grade) and has been provided with a teaching assistant trained by Elim in disability inclusion. The Teaching Assistants provide support and translate the lessons into sign language for students who are hard of hearing.
Rhoda has been completely integrated into school life. She loves to run and play football. Learning in class comes with its challenges, but Rhoda has been able to overcome them through the support of the teaching assistants, teachers and her friends.
Images: 1st – Students attending an inclusive school in Nigeria. 2nd – Possible, 19-year-old male student, standing in his classroom in Nigeria. 3rd – Male student, Possible, sat at a desk in his classroom and using Braille resources. 4th – Teaching assistant, Ruben, standing outside the school he teaches in. 5th – Female student, Rhoda, standing outside her school classroom.