Supporting school enrolment of girls with disabilities
- Girl Enrollment Programme
- STEP - Special Talent Exchange Program
- Country of Implementation
- Asia & Pacific
- South Asia
- Charsadda & Nowshera
- Start Year
- First published
“The project also enabled the provision of assistive devices and an accessible environment for children with disabilities in mainstream schools.” Spokesperson for the KPK Provincial Education Department
In 2017, Special Talent Exchange Programme (STEP), a disabled persons’ organization (DPO) based in Islamabad, launched a project to promote the enrolment of children with disabilities in mainstream schools, with a focus on girls. The programme, which runs in the Charsadda and Nowshera districts of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, encourages families to send their children to school, while also offering assistive devices. STEP has been supporting 220 girls with disabilities in school and has trained 90 teachers.
Students with disabilities in Pakistan often do not enrol in mainstream schools due to the lack of an accessible curriculum and trained teachers.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The project ran for one year from 2017 to 2018 and aimed to promote Inclusive Education through the participation of girls with disabilities in mainstream schools. STEP engaged with local community members to encourage families to send their children to school, and it distributed various assistive devices such as wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, and hearing aids in the community. Moreover, STEP trained 90 teachers in the two identified districts on methods that can be used to teach children with disabilities. In order to build capacity, STEP has developed two comprehensive manuals: one for teacher training and one for parent-teacher councils. These manuals also include information about all available resources related to Inclusive Education. STEP identified 220 girls with disabilities for school enrolment and provided 180 of them with assistive devices so they could continue their education. The project was implemented with the support of parent-teacher councils and school management councils in the two districts.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The one-year project budget was approximately $111,000, which was provided by the Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program of USAID. STEP has not replicated the project since its completion in 2018. In order to ensure that the 220 girls with disabilities continue their educational progress, STEP has engaged local DPOs to generate awareness of the girls’ needs among their communities, and it has requested the Ministry of Education to support the girls with a monthly stipend. As one outcome of the lobbying efforts, the Ministry of Education has introduced special training of teachers in order to equip them with the techniques of Inclusive Education.