PHYSICAL and mental disabilities carry a stigma that is often a basis for exclusion from society as well as the educational sector which is an infringement on the rights of the children.
Report by Vimbai Marufu
There is a general assumption that mentally challenged children are dull and incapable of learning and such stereotypes have caused damage to the self-esteem of children living with disabilities.
In an effort to promote, protect their right to education and contribute towards the progressive realisation and enjoyment of this right, Zengeza 1 High School opened a new classroom fully equipped with resources to enhance their learning process.
Speaking at the official opening of the new classroom recently, Provincial Education Director, Harare Metropolitan Province, Edward Shumba, commended the school for such an initiative and encouraged community members to educate their children whether they are disabled or not.
“I am very happy to have commissioned the special class; I saw wonders in that class as they can now go on the Internet with the new computers which will be used for e-learning.
“We value what the school is doing for these children and the support given to the children by the community members. Let us be grateful and accept the children we are given by God.
“We should respect and understand our children’s choices and support them in the direction they want to take”, said Shumba.
The school, which now has 25 children with disabilities, acquired new learning resources from well-wishers which include books, computers, printers, sewing machines and kitchen utensils among other things to assist in equipping the school with appropriate educational material.
The day, which coincided with speech and prize giving for the whole school saw a lot of children with disabilities collecting prizes for different sporting disciplines and curriculum activities with so many having collected gold and silver medals in the Danhiko Annual Paralympics Games 2013.
One of their teachers, Anna Munyoro, described the inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream education as having a lot of benefits as they could learn new social and life skills from students without disabilities and they in turn would also learn more realistic and accurate views about them and develop friendship or a positive attitude towards them.
She added that the resources they now had would go a long way in improving their lives.
“These children are very excited to explore their new educational material and are very enthusiastic. This initiative by the school will go a long way in developing the children lives.