Supporting children with disability to attend school

Through the BEQUAL program, the Australian Government in partnership with World Vision supports children with a disability to enjoy their rights. Yai is a young girl from an ethnic community in Khammouane province, with a moderate physical impairment due to cerebral palsy, which has left her partially paralysed. Yai found it difficult to hold a pencil for very long and she was shy around strangers. Starting school meant walking 3km with her classmates each morning, though she found it was too far for her to walk home at lunchtime and back in time for afternoon lessons. So Yai took her lunch to school – some days her grandmother would meet her at school so they could eat together.

At the start of the school year, the teachers from her school participated in a five-day training workshop on disability inclusive education organized by the BEQUAL project. When Yai started school, her teacher developed an Inclusive Education Plan (IEP) to help her learning progress. As Yai found it difficult at first to hold a pencil, her teacher made a special pencil grip for her, just as he had seen from the demonstration in the workshop. Yai’s teacher and grandmother received further coaching on teaching aids and approaches to support her at school and at home. Yai and her grandmother were also supported to meet with a doctor who showed them exercises to help strengthen muscles and improve flexibility. The BEQUAL project has also provided her with a bicycle, so that she can get to school more conveniently.

Now Yai enjoys going to school with her friends every day. She especially likes lessons where she can draw pictures. She is also a member of the children’s reading group which meets in her village every Wednesday afternoon, where she joins in enthusiastically with the songs, games and story time. The project has better equipped Yai’s family, teachers and community to help her reach her full potential, regardless of disability.