Innovative Practice 2020 on Inclusive Education and ICT

Converting special schools into Inclusive Education centres

Christoffel-Blindenmission (CBM) is an international Christian development organization based in Germany, working mainly in low income countries. In 2018, it began converting three special schools in the Zimbabwe towns of Gweru, Harare, and Kadoma into Inclusive Education centres, in partnership with the Jairos Jiri Association, the largest disability NGO in Zimbabwe. The centres teach children with physical, visual, and hearing disabilities together with children without disabilities from early childhood onwards. They also educate local governments, schools, and companies about disability inclusion. As of 2019, the centres teach 440 children with disabilities.

“Every day we see that together we can achieve changes for more Inclusive Education.”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Inclusive Educational Centres in Zimbabwe
Organisation:CBM – Christoffel-Blindenmission
of Implementation
Zimbabwe/ 3 centers/boarding schools in three regions; Midlands, Harare, Mashonaland
Start Year2018


  • The three schools host a total of 440 children with disabilities.
  • 210 children with disabilities have been integrated into mainstream schools, 40 into universities, and 80 have entered employment.


Most schools in Zimbabwe are not equipped to teach students with disabilities and do not accept them, which often leads to a lack of prospects and a life of poverty.


Each Inclusive Education centre has a specific focus – physical, visual, or hearing impairments – and offers its students accessibility devices and features such as hearing aids, white canes, Braille machines, Braille learning materials, ramps, and handrails. Additionally, the centres offer teacher support, for example, on how to teach learners with different disabilities; and they also support parents, such as on issues of orientation and mobility. The centres work independently but in close coordination with each other, and they employ a large number of people with disabilities as teachers and other staff members.

The schools work primarily on the standard curriculum, but they also support vocational and life skills to help integrate students into employment or into higher education following graduation. To date, over 200 children have been integrated into mainstream secondary schools, 40 into universities, and 80 into employment.

The centres also serve as an education platform on inclusion for local governments, companies, and schools while working closely with the community. The success of the project, along with CBM’s advocacy initiatives, has led to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and a consortium of small foundations to begin drafting a national Inclusive Educational strategy.

Children in school uniforms walk outside, grapping each other by the shoulders to be leaded back to the classroom.

The centres teach children with physical, visual, and hearing disabilities together with children without disabilities from early childhood onwards. Photo by Daniel Hayduk.


A consortium of small foundations supports the project, which has an annual cost of €180,000. The joint funding allows the foundations to make more effective use of their resources. The consortium also contributes to efficiency in administration for CBM, since reports need only be submitted to the consortium and not to foundations individually.

Within CBM, the project is considered a model for Inclusive Education given its framework and multi stakeholder approach. The aim is for the three schools to become the leading centres for replicating the inclusive approach across the Zimbabwe school system, and for the project to reach 800 children with disabilities by 2021.



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