The situation of children with disabilities in remote mountainous villages of Nepal is extremely difficult. Services for early detection and intervention are available only at distant centers which are completely beyond reach of poor families with such children. HEAD Nepal since 2011 promote inclusive education for children with disabilities through operating mobile schools with literacy-based educational training at their home, ultimately helping them integrate into mainstream education system.
The Head Mobile School in the Himalayas: promoting inclusive education and enabling children with disabilities to access education through literacy-based educational training at their home and ultimately integrate them into mainstream education.
What issue are you trying to solve?
Beyond the challenge from impairments, children with disabilities in Humla suffer from barriers presented by society that exclude and disadvantage them by not recognizing their rights, needs and potentials. Very limited number of such children have access to basic services such as claiming state benefit payments, health and education. Almost 95% children with disabilities are illiterate.
In this situation, targeting such children and to improve access of education, “Mobile School” is the best possible solution. This school include teachers who travels in two horses back along with teaching materials visiting door to door at the villages without proper road access and provide 3-6 months of classes to children and their parents. These mobile teachers first locate the children with disabilities, assess their needs, and deliver relevant training on daily living skills, mobility skills, basic literacy and disability awareness, and finally integrate in mainstream school.
What is your approach to this issue?
The school is operated by teachers who are trained to ride on horseback and teach children with different disabilities. In the first part of the training, they visit homes regularly, locate disabled children, assess their situation and provide them training on daily living skills, orientation/mobility, confident building, disability awareness including their parents. Most importantly the parents will be counseled to accept their child’s disability and change their mindset. In the second part of curriculum, children are taken to the world of literacy and education. They are provided with alternative educational tools and train them with their family members. It is a solution for literacy centered mainly around homes which are followed by a series of educational training that the teachers will also give hands-on training. These two stages of training is a solution for education around the mobile school that lead the kids to easier integration and inclusion in the mainstream school.
What is the potential impact of your initiative?
Since 2011, The Mobile School of HEAD Nepal has been a pioneering intervention in Humla to bring children with disabilities to mainstream education and promote inclusive education. We conducted Mobile schools two times (in 2011 and 2015) that covered 5 Rural Municipalities of Humla benefiting 150 children with different disabilities and their family. Among them, 110 children have successfully integrated into community school that had government funding for resource classes to blind, deaf, intellectual and physicaldisabilities. Four resource classes and three residential educational centers have been established as a sustainability of those mobile schools. From 2018, Mobile School is planned in another two rural municipalities where the research reveals 219 children and their family members who are in need of services of mobile school. These accomplishment directly relates to the 2nd impact of NOW-Us Award 2018, improved access to health and education.