Friday, 30 May 2014

Hands in the air to show you're aware!

Who can give a definition of the word disability? Why do people have disabilities? Can I be friends with a person who has a disability?

In Burkina Faso, many children living with a disability do not get the chance to go to school. Stigma and a lack of integration of children with disabilities with their able-bodied peers means that the latter can find these questions difficult to answer.

To address this, HSB runs disability awareness-raising events in schools and this week the ICS volunteers went along to help run one of these sessions at the Tanghin B school on the outskirts of Ouagadougou.
Faced with a class of 80 eager children, UK volunteers Steph, Ali and Kat were glad of the experience of HSB's Nathalie, and National Volunteers Franceline and Alexis, who between them have run many a session.
The morning comprised of a question and answer session with the class, followed by a true or false quiz and an educational game. The students were enthusiastic and we were blown away by the many hands in the air clicking their fingers for attention and cries of “c’est moi, c’est moi!”.
Students getting ready to race
The game takes the form of a race which involves two teams of four students who must transport water from one bucket to another some distance away. One member of each team does so uninhibited, one with crutches, one with a blindfold and one with bandaged hands, representing a variety of disabilities.

Teams eventually realise that they must work together to be successful. After the game, we spoke to the students about whether the game was easy or difficult, and why, and to the participants about how they felt having shared a small experience comparable to that of children living with disabilities. 
Nathalie writing up HSB's contact details

The awareness-raising session, or “sensibilisation”, was hugely enjoyed by all, and we hope that the students enjoyed themselves and learnt something along the way. At the end of the session many children were eager to take HSB's contact details and we took this as a positive sign!


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