Last year Pádraic Mannion visited our Education for All project in the Bombali district, Sierra Leone, and met 13-year-old Abdul.
Abdul is one of many children who has benefited from a Sightsavers project that aims to give all children with disabilities access to better quality education.
Sadly, in Sierra Leone and many other countries, children with disabilities can often be considered not worth educating. Even if families do decide to send their visually impaired children to school, teachers can lack the skills and resources to accommodate the children’s needs.
Children who miss out on a quality education can then become trapped in a cycle of poverty and dependence. Accessing housing, medical facilities and even food are all huge challenges for a person with disabilities who has not been to school or learned a particular skill.
Thanks to your fantastic support, Sightsavers is training teachers in 45 mainstream schools in Sierra Leone. They are receiving training on how to assist and include children with visual impairments and other disabilities and allow them to reach their full potential.
Kadie Moore, head teacher at Abdul’s school in Bombali, Sierra Leone, is one of 89 head and deputy head teachers trained in inclusive and special needs education. Kadie is now better equipped with a range of skills to help identify and address her students’ needs and has implemented seemingly small changes in her school that can make a huge difference for a child with disabilities.
“We learned that if a student has a problem with their eyes, if you seat them at the back they will not see,” explains Kadie. “When you place them at the front of the classroom before the blackboard, they will be able to see properly.”