22 April, 2013 - Steph Gaut
Education really is a cornerstone of societies around the world. The knowledge and skills learned at school as well as the social connections made often contribute to job opportunities, providing a way for people to break free from poverty. But without inclusive education, people with disabilities are often denied this opportunity and are more likely to remain inside the ongoing cycle of poverty and disability.
This week is Global Action Week, a worldwide annual initiative from Global Campaign for Education. Under the slogan “Every child needs a teacher” the 2013 Global Action Week aims to raise awareness of the global teacher shortage, particularly in developing nations and how despite rising enrolments a lack of teachers means schools are just buildings.
Kingsley knows what a difference an education can make. Blind since birth, Kingsley often missed out on many opportunities, including going to school. But now he stands tall and dreams of change, thanks to the power of education.
The CBM-partner school in Cameroon is purpose built for children with vision impairment and has made an enormous impact on Kingsley’s life. Starting school at 12, Kingsley has now completed his schooling. He is fluent in French and English; the confidence he received from his education has given Kingsley hope and purpose, and he was unanimously elected to be his village’s adviser and spokesman at community meetings – as everyone realised he had so much to contribute. Kingsley also sits on the local council, showing how development work and community outreach is shifting perceptions and breaking the barriers for people with a disability. Thanks to the education opportunities offered through CBM, Kingsley is looking forward to a brighter future.
“I’m going to university next year and I’m going to become a teacher .Going to school with sighted students doesn’t frighten me. I know that I can do it also!”
CBM works in the poorest places to modify existing schools to make them more accessible, promotes inclusive education, and provides local teachers with the training they need to support students with disabilities. We are also working with communities to break down discrimination and stigma associated with disabilities throughout families, communities and at a policy level to ensure education is accessible to all.
So as we remember this week the need for teachers around the world, let’s remember that teachers also need training on how to make education accessible for all.