Building an inclusive school
After participating at the 2013 Youth Forum in Ukraine, the teachers and students at Kyiv School #85 set out to build a more inclusive school environment.
“Our school was already inclusive, but we had a vision that disabled children should be equal members of our school society not only according to the law but also in real life. That was the aim with our project Inclusion of disabled children at school”, teacher Bela Delmaeva, explained.
Together with the students Irina Avalishvily and Tatiana Mikhaylevskaya, he participated at the 2013 Youth Forum for Democracy and Human Rights at School. The forum offered training based on the whole school approach to Education for democratic Citizenship (EDC) and Human rights education (HRE). The participants were high school students and teachers from all regions of Ukraine. The forum’s aim was to promote democratic environment at school and increase young people’s participation in public life by providing training on human rights and democratic citizenship.
Delmaeva and the rest of the participants had 3 days of intensive training followed by 2 months where they implemented their local projects. The projects ranged from organizing opportunities for meditation to improving the health of the students.
Back at Kyiv School #85 they set out to make the school a more inclusive place for students with disabilities. The project was organized by 9 teachers, 3 students and 4 young volunteers. An opinion pool carried out at the school, revealed that 70 percent of the students believed that disabled children should study with them in the same class. 15 percent didn’t care while 15 said no to same-class teaching.
“We made different steps to give those particular children equal possibilities to study. All of them can attend common lessons with other children though they have their individual lessons. It means that according to the Ukrainian law they are given the chance to be members of society and get proper education corresponding to their possibilities and necessities”, Delmaeva explained.
Lessons of tolerance
Lessons of tolerance to disabled people were held in every class. Children visited an art exhibition where all the paintings were drawn by feet. Also a group of volunteers visited a boarding school for children with disabilities. The project culminated in a joint concert in cooperation with the Cultural Centre of the Ukrainian Centre of Disabled People.
“We hope that we changed the thoughts of our children, parents and teachers., but It is a project which cannot be realised in two-three months”, Delmaeva pointed out.