Supporting Inclusive Learning for Children with Disabilities
Thou Phearin, a 12-year-old boy, sits quietly reading and studying with his new glasses. He gives us a big smile and describes how good he feels after receiving support from the Inclusive Learning project implemented by Save the Children. “After getting glasses, I am so excited to be able to clearly see letters in my books and on the blackboard in school,” Phearin said.
Phearin is studying Grade 5 in Proy Gnel primary school. He is the fifth son of a poor family of eight in Prongil village, Prongil commune, Kravanh district, Pursat province. It was very difficult before for Phearin to read and write his homework at home, especially in dark places because of his poor sight. However, he could still help support his parents with house chores. “Phearin always helps us take care of the cows and plant crops during his free time, said Ms. Thik Mum, Phearin’s mother, “But he was not interested in going to school and doing his homework.”
Phearin always disturbed his classmates during class time by asking them to read lessons for him because he could not see the blackboard, which made Phearin not want to go to school. “Previously, Phearin sat far away from the blackboard and he often asked for other classmate’s books in order to copy lessons,” explained Ms. Sath Nunty, Phearin’s teacher, “I decided to change his seating arrangement but this still did not work for him.”
In 2019, with funding support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Save the Children worked closely with local and government partners to implement the Inclusive Learning project in Phearin’s community. The project aims to provide training to Teachers and School Principals on how to identify children with disabilities as well as how to properly implement inclusive education methods during class time.
Ms. Nunty received training from the project on how to identify children at risk of reduced participation due to disabilities or impairments. Ms. Nunty noticed Phearin’s difficulties, where she then worked closely with project staff and Phearin’s parents to send him to the Provincial Hospital in order to get his eyes checked out and get him glasses.
“I applied new methods and teaching styles to support all children in my class, especially children with disabilities.” Ms. Nunty continued, “I re-arranged the seats so that all children can see what is written on the blackboard at all times, as well as produced picture cards to support children’s learning in a fun way.”
Phearin now regularly comes to class after he received his glasses, and his learning progress has improved. He does not need to borrow his classmate’s books to copy lessons anymore because he can see everything clearly. Ms. Mum said with a big smile that she thankful to teachers, school directors and especially to the organization [Save the Children] in supporting her son to get glasses.
When asked what he wants to be in the future, Phearin happily replied, “I have three main ideas for what I want to be in the future, where I want to be a teacher, doctor or IT specialist.”