A bright future for Layian
Layian Ramzy Dokhan is a nine-year-old girl who has lived with a physical disability since she was three. She lives in Rafah, a city close to the Egyptian border, which is prone to military incursions. Nine of Layian’s family members, including three of her brothers and two of her sisters, live in a house with cramped rooms. When it was time for Layian to attend school, she was denied enrollment due to her disability. That is, until she met Humanity & Inclusion (HI).
Layian is performing during a story telling session. | ? Abed Al-Rahman Sayma/HI
Through HI’s inclusive education project, which seeks to improve the access of children with disabilities to education services in the Gaza Strip, Layian was enrolled in one of our partner schools. She also benefited from psychosocial support and counselling services.
"During one of her first days in school, she asked me to join her in the classroom,” her grandmother explains. “I attended the whole lesson with her. She was a little bit nervous but, after one month, she became more confident and upbeat!”
Transitioning to mainstream schools
In addition to letting children with disabilities to attend class, Humanity & Inclusion's inclusive education project also helps facilitate their transition to mainstream schools. HI supports education counselors to advocate on the students’ behalf so that more children like Layian are given the opportunity for a mainstream education. Layian, upon review of her educational achievements, was finally admitted into a mainstream program. She explained that both schools brought education closer to her heart, something that she cherishes a lot.
According to her mother, HI’s inclusive education project prepared Layian for success. “I think the most important reason that explains Layian’s high grades is the initial support she got from the special school,” her mother explains. “It gave her a chance to go out and meet people and make friends, instead of staying at home, isolated from the outside world. As for me, my participation in the psychosocial and educational sessions helped me understand more about Layian’s needs, and how best to respond to them.”
Layian dans un camp d'été inclusif ? Abed Al-Rahman Sayma/HI
A bright future
HI’s team continues to follow up with Layian, conducting visits and offering her support in class. “I feel very happy when I see my friends from the Society of Physically Handicapped People (HI’s partner organization) in class with me. It’s like a reunion! Education is the key to my success,” explains the young girl.
Layian’s grandmother is very satisfied with her granddaughter’s situation, and is no longer concerned about her future. In fact, she says, “The future is bright for Layian, she is a very strong girl and she will be a strong woman.”
About Inclusive /Special Education in Gaza
HI is implementing a Global Affairs Canada (GAC) funded project to improve access to education for children with disabilities in the Gaza Strip. HI warmly thanks his other Canadian partners for their contribution.
Project support includes:
- Development of accessible and child friendly environments in Gaza Strip partner schools (Gaza City, the Middle Area and Rafah City).
- Equipping partner schools with teaching materials and school supplies (equipment designed to meet the specific needs of children with disabilities).
- Equipping partners with assistive devices, and assistive mobility, hearing and vision technologies for children with disabilities to enhance children's participation and interaction with the educational community.
- Capacity building of special needs and mainstream school teachers on topics related to inclusive education, and adapted and active learning methodologies, as well as supporting teachers to be responsive to the individual needs of children with disabilities.
- Providing psychosocial and educational counseling for children, their caregivers and teachers to improve their ability to withstand chronic stress.
- Supporting inclusive summer camps and recreational activities with the full participation of disabled and able-bodied children, in order to change the negative attitudes towards disability and to support the creation of new friendships.
- Raising community awareness on disabled children’s rights, in particular access to education for girls.
- Development of school-based emergency response plans that will support the school and the neighborhood community to respond and act accordingly towards children with disabilities in the event of a crisis during the school day.
- Provision of technical support to the Gaza education sub-cluster, and other education stakeholders to include the needs of children with disabilities into their planning.
The #school4all campaign
More than 32 million children with disabilities from low- and middle-income countries do not get an education. They are excluded from games, schools and all kinds of learning experiences.
Accessing education is their only chance to build a future for themselves. To raise public awareness of this major problem, HI has launched #school4all, a summer call for donations campaign.