Converting special schools into Inclusive Education centres
- Inclusive Educational Centres in Zimbabwe
- CBM - Christoffel Blind Mission International
- Country of Implementation
- Subsaharan Africa
- 3 centers/boarding schools in three regions; Midlands, Harare, Mashonaland
- Start Year
- First published
“Every day we see that together we can achieve changes for more Inclusive Education.” Deborah Tigere, CBM Project Manager and Country Director
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.
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.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
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.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
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.
THE STORY OF ELLEN MAPURANGA (19), A STUDENT AT JAIROS JIRI GWERU NARAN CENTRE SCHOOL
“It enables deaf students to venture out there and mix with others who are not deaf.”
I was born and grew up in Gokwe Nembudziya, in the Midlands province of Zimbabwe. Since I was born deaf, I had never gone to school before. I came to the Jairos Jiri Gweru Naran Centre School for the deaf when I was 13 years old. Word reached my father through a social worker that there is a school for the deaf in Gweru. The programme teaches learners with disabilities the life skills that enable them to fully function on an equal level with others in society. I am currently enrolled in the vocational training programme, where I was trained in detergent making, floor polish production, hairdressing, sewing and garment construction, and culinary arts. What I like about this programme is that it enables deaf students to venture out there and mix with others who are not deaf. This is extremely important for us as we are not going to be living at the school forever. In order to expand my skillset, the school is currently in talks with the Midlands Hotel to attach me to a real work environment in order to sharpen my skills in culinary arts.