Story from MACDI - Micro-finance and Community Development Institute PO of NLR Mekong
Ngoc My A primary school is a school in Ngoc My commune, Tan Lac district, Hoa Binh province. This is one of the schools that still have many difficulties in many items of infrastructure and road is depredated. 13 students with disabilities are attending this school, students with disabilities are mainly 6 to 10 years old; types of disabilities are various: movement, vision, deaf, mental disabilities, autism. Before the project began, children with disabilities were quite timid, shy, and afraid to contact strangers and often tried to hide and escape in deserted places to avoid crowds.
On March 25, 2018, we organized “We ring the bell” campaign at Ngoc My A Primary School, in the presence of Leaders of the Education and Training Department of Tan Lac District, Ngoc My School Board, 31 teachers, 442 students of the school (including 13 students with disabilities), and representatives of parent, parents of children with disabilities.
We organized the activities: performances by students, shaking bottles together and reading out slogans about the rights of children with disabilities (ringing the bell), asking quizzes with gifts, interacting with students and parents of children with disabilities. We ring the bell to protect the rights of children with disabilities, to read and understand the rights of children with disabilities.
During the event, gifts were given to 13 school students with disabilities in the school to encourage the students. Through the event, we also invited parents and students to express their feelings and comments and ideas on promoting rights of children with disabilities. A mother of a child with disabilities shared that parents of children with disabilities were very happy because their children were taken care of by the authorities, schools and organizations, creating conditions for their children to go to school to study and play with friends without being alienated, they acknowledged that children with disabilities also had the same rights as other children.
Two months after the events and activities took place at Ngoc My Primary School, we returned to the school and interviewed students there. We interviewed some normal students on the rights of children with disabilities, almost 100% of the children responded as they were taught in that event. In addition, children with disabilities, after joining the project have changed a lot: children are more brave and friendly to the project staff, they interact with friends and receive help and sharing from their friends, they are no longer being teased or alienated by their friends. Therefore, children with disabilities love to go to school both in sunny days and rainy days. They go to school regularly and have fun with their friends. A friend with intellectual disabilities is helped by his classmates in reading and writing alphabet. A blind child is guided by their peers to go around the school. A child on a wheel chair is help by their friends to go on stairs. It is a big change of the children after the event is implemented at the school.
MACDI has connected with local authorities and families with children with disabilities to mobilize the families to bring children to schools for inclusive education. In addition, we discuss with the families with children with disabilities the state support policies and help them to get the benefits. We support the families in health care for the children with disabilities. Moreover, we also look for the best medical facilities and clinics to introduce and mobilize children to get free advice, examination and treatment. At the same time, we support the families with children with disabilities to overcome difficulties in daily life.
We coordinate with the state agencies and our partners to implement these events, so that the events like this are more successful than expected. The local government staff understand the local situation and the difficulties of the students and can change the activities design accordingly, they implement the activities and evaluate the activities and provide lessons learnt for the project.
Our lessons learned when implementing local activities are to coordinate closely with local officials and partners who will carry out activities to make the activities most suitable and friendly with the children. With the participation of local authorities, the activities will be more successful. Lessons learned are also creating trust from children with disabilities in the project, and children with disabilities are encouraged to involve and be supported in the most effective way. The government and everyone can easily see the impact of the project on the children with disabilities.