Creating common learning places, without isolating children with disabilitiesIn Tajikistan, generally speaking, children with disabilities either study away from their families, at boarding schools established specifically for them, or they simply stay home without going to school. When children with disabilities are isolated in such a way, however, they lose contact with society, and society continues to show prejudice against them. In order to try to change this situation, AAR Japan has been engaged in activities to enable children with and without disabilities to study together in same schools. These activities have been undertaken in cooperation with local organizations for persons with disabilities, Rushdi Incluziya and IRODA, at School No. 28 and School No. 72 in the capital city of Dushanbe since January 2014.
School No. 28 actually started accepting children with disabilities nine years ago, as a result of direct negotiations with principals and requests from parents. However, the physical environments of the school had been far from “barrier free.” AAR, in response, installed wheelchair ramps and renovated toilets in the above two schools to make it more accessible for children with mobility difficulties. In addition, with a view to facilitating acceptance of children with disabilities by school teachers, staff, parents and schoolchildren, we have held various events aimed at deepening understanding of children with disabilities and conducted trainings for teachers and other school staff members.
|School No. 28 is now equipped with a wheelchair ramp. (July 30th, 2014)|
|The toilets without any partition were renovated into private toilets that can accommodate wheelchairs. (School No. 28, May 13th, 2014)|
Schoolchildren naturally accepting children with disabilitiesSabrina (age 11, grade 4) is paralyzed on the right side of her body due to polio and cerebral paralysis, but has been attending School No. 28 in wheelchair for five years, with the help of her mother and brother. Today, thanks to the ramps installed by AAR, the wheelchair does not need to be lifted when entering the school building, and she can go to the toilet by herself. “I play with balls and read tales with my classmates. When I cannot read well, my friends always help me,” said Sabrina. Sabrina, who is always cheerful and good at making friends, naturally attracts schoolmates.
|Sabrina (left), who goes to School No. 28 in wheelchair, shows her drawing to KAIZAWA (right), AAR Tajikistan Office staff. (October 2nd, 2014)|
Happy school life promotes self-confidenceEvangelina (age 8, grade 2) suffered from a cerebral tumor and, as a result, has weak memory and is often restless. Her mother, Tatiyana, was worried about which school Evangelina should attend. Having heard about School No. 28 through a leaflet produced by a cooperating organization, she decided to send Evangelina to
School No. 28 in September 2013. Tatiyana said, “I was very anxious how other children would act towards Evangelina at first. But having seen many of them quickly becoming good friends with her, I am not anxious any more. By going to school every day and by being loved by other children, Evangelina’s self-confidence has increased. In my community, local people do not yet have adequate understanding toward persons with disabilities, and neighboring children do not play with Evangelina. That is one of the reasons why Evangelina is so happy with her friendly schoolmates here.” Her words eloquently tell how grateful and relieved she felt when she saw her daughter being received in such a friendly manner by the school and starting to enjoy her school life.
|Evangelina loves school. On her right is KAIZAWA. (October 2nd, 2014)|
Trial and error of teachers
|Ms. Karimova (left), a teacher at School No. 72, has been in charge of children with disabilities for one month. Within this role, “trial and error” is part of her everyday life. (October 2nd, 2014)|
Extending inclusive education to other schools
English editing by Mr Richard Whale
The article on this page has been translated by volunteers as part of the AAR Volunteer Programme. Their generous contributions allow us to spread our activities and ideas globally, through an ever-growing selection of our reports from the field.