More than one billion people around the world, of whom nearly 93 million are children, live with some form of disability. Societies᾽ misperception of different forms and types of disability and the limited capacity of social actors to accommodate special needs often place people on the margin. Persons with disabilities experience inequalities in their daily lives, and have fewer opportunities to access a quality education that takes place in an inclusive environment.
FHI, supports various international Human Rights Treaties and Conventions that uphold the right to education of all persons, including Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1946), the Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), and Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006).
Inclusive education means different and diverse students learning side by side in the same classroom. They enjoy field trips and after-school activities together. They participate in student government together. And they attend the same sports meets and plays. Inclusive education values diversity and the unique contributions each student brings to the classroom. In a truly inclusive setting, every child feels safe and has a sense of belonging. Students and their parents participate in setting learning goals and take part in decisions that affect them. And school staff have the training, support, flexibility, and resources to nurture, encourage, and respond to the needs of all students.
Inclusive Education is the cornerstone of realizing the FHI’s goals of full participation, independent living, economic self-sufficiency, and equal opportunity. FHI is committed to promoting access to education from preschool through post-graduate work. We take a comprehensive approach to educational access, including advocacy, partnerships with educational institutions, and programs designed to break down barriers to education. Inclusive education means education in which all children are welcome in the same classroom and provided with high-quality instruction and the support tools needed to succeed. In practice this requires helping schools and school systems to adapt to the needs each individual child, rather than trying to “fix the child in order to fit the system.” It also involves convincing parents, teachers, and other students that children with disabilities should be accepted and allowed to attend school alongside their peers. Since its inception in 2008, FHI has been a leader in promoting inclusive practices in education. Our activities focus on:
Raising the awareness about the rights of children with disabilities among parents, teachers, students, and other community members.
Identifying children with disabilities in the community who are not attending school and referring them to other relevant services such as social care/rehabilitation services etc.
Providing support and training to parents of children with disabilities.
Training teachers to work with children with disabilities and learners with special educational needs.
Ensuring school buildings are accessible according to universal design standards and have learning resources for children with disabilities, such as braille books, tactile maps and other resources, and early literacy and numeracy teaching aids to help students with intellectual disabilities.
Working with schools and governments to develop inclusive education policies.
• Advocate for the recognition of children’s legal rights, such as supporting organizations of parents with children with special educational needs and disabilities
support sustainable services like networking and learning opportunities for schools and NGOs, such as teacher associations and parent groups
Strengthen civil society groups that give young people, parents, and educators a voice, including parent-led organizations advocating for the rights and inclusion of children with disabilities.
FHI actively pushes for system reform in schools that result in improved outcomes for students with disabilities, both while in school and after they leave the school setting. We keep our advocacy efforts intentional and focused by developing strong relationships with education leaders and partners.