An ongoing project has increased access to education for children with intellectual disabilities at Home de la Vierge des Pauvres (HVP) Gatagara, Gikondo branch – a center that works in favor of people living with disabilities (PLWD) – Pressbox has learnt.
Since March 2020, HVP Gatagara with sponsorship of European Union (EU) through Christian Blind Mission (CBM), has been implementing a project entitled ‘Enhancing access to quality education, inclusion and community well-being for children with intellectual disabilities and their families in Kicukiro, City of Kigali’, with objective to contribute to the realization of human rights (civil political economic, social, and cultural rights) of persons with intellectual disabilities in Rwanda.
Speaking to the media after presenting the project implementation to stakeholders on August 27, 2021, Andre Nsekambabaye, Project manager at HVP Gatagara Gikondo said: “Before this project, we had 80 children in our school-based care. But now, after one year and half, we are counting 123 children in total. We are glad to have such a big number in this short period of time since we started implementing the project.”
“Some children with intellectual disabilities are still facing stigma in their families, which may hinder their chances of profiting from this project. But, as we have sensitization programs among our activities, we psychologically help parents understand that disabled children have rights to living conditions like other human beings.” He added.
The three-year project which will end in March 2023, aims to end up with 180 children in total.
“We are grateful to have such a helpful project towards looking to attain our goals. By implementing this project, we are generally contributing to the realization of human rights of persons with intellectual disabilities in Rwanda, which is our overall objective. We appreciate support from the project sponsors, and our basic stakeholders including local government and parents.” Said Jean Pierre Nteziryayo, the Director of HVP Gatagara, Gikondo branch.
Nteziryayo pointed at persisting gaps to fill, in order to further sustain the quality of education for children with intellectual disability, including need for more classrooms and workshop to make sure teaching methodologies are eased, providing teachers with specific trainings to make sure their course delivery will be of required quality, among others.
Speaking about the highlighted needs, Dominique Bizimana, the president of National Union of Disability Organisations of Rwanda (NUDOR) said: “We have realized persisting challenges they presented to stakeholders and we are ready to do advocacy to make sure HVP Gatagara, Gikondo branch gets more backing.”
According to Mary Kobusingye, Special Education Needs Officer at MINEDUC, through a constant collaboration with HVP Gatagara, Gikondo branch, the Ministry of education assures its continuous effort.
Speaking about filling the gap of training for teachers, Kobusingjye said: “You know the Rwanda Education Board (REB) has among its services, regular trainings for teachers. For example, on-the-job training, which is a form of training provided at the workplace. So, as far as the budget is there, teachers will be trained.”
Through this ongoing project identified children with intellectual disabilities are benefiting from appropriate education according to their level of disability, while their parents are given psychological support.