Our 2014 Young Ambassadors Maisie and Rebecca have recently come back from Uganda where they experienced what children with disabilities might come up against when trying to get an education.
Watch the film: we made a film to document Rebecca and Maisie’s trip. Watch it now.
First, to get some background, the girls met organisations on the front line of education policy and practice. Juliet from Sightsavers gave an overview of inclusive education and its benefits. James at the Uganda National Association of Teachers Union gave them the teachers’ perspective and Fred at FENU, the Ugandan member of the Global Campaign for Education, explained their uphill battle to get the government to take action. They also met their Uganda counterparts – three inspiring visually impaired young people striving to change attitudes and promote opportunity, supported by the Ugandan National Association for the Blind.
In meeting after meeting the same issues surfaced: lack of qualified teachers, lack of equipment, discrimination and prejudice. Their heads buzzing with information, the girls left for Iganga district, ready to step into the shoes of children in and out of education.
An emotional two days followed. The four children they met who had to drop out of school were all too aware of how much they needed an education. But the longer they were out of school, the more they saw their dreams slipping away from them. They were difficult conversations, and the girls were frustrated that money got in the way of such strong desire to learn.
At two inclusive schools they were able to see the difference in the children who had the right support. The visually impaired children there were thriving, and their confidence that they could achieve anything their sighted peers could was clear.
Back in Kampala, the girls were fired up and ready to grill the Ministry of Education about the challenges they had seen and heard. It turned out that they were pleasantly surprised by the honesty and passion of the two education officers we met.
They have returned ready to campaign tirelessly for education for all. Watch out Mr Cameron!
Photos: © Graeme Robertson/GCE UK