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Let's help communities together

HDP Foundation implemented a four-month project (November 1, 2008– February 28, 2009) funded by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The overall goal of this 4-month project was to promote integration of children and youth with disabilities through education, trainings and other events. The project was implemented in the inclusive school N135 in Yerevan.

Students at roundtable Several roundtables and trainings were organized with participation of pupils, teachers and parents. The overall aim of the trainings was to promote development of inclusive education, to change the attitude and views towards disabled people as well as to promote equal opportunities, integration and tolerance towards them. In the course of the project HDP lawyer and social worker presented participants current law on education and on all international conventions that Armenia has adopted. In order to change the perception towards inclusive education our social worker did her best to explain details in the relationship among children, teachers and parents.

Presenters at roundtable HDP staff also organized four roundtable discussions in the target school. The audience of the debates were 8-10 grade schoolchildren, their parents and school management. There were roughly 25 participants in each session. The purposes of the debates were to start dialogue between the involved groups, provide an opportunity for the parties to talk to each other and bring their perspectives and suggestions.

Debating disabilities All the participants were actively participating in the debates, at the same time expressing tolerance and respect to each other. That was a great chance for the parents to express freely their ideas in the presence of their children and teachers. So it was the result of HDP working group's great efforts, as they always stressed the importance of both teachers' and parents' role in the development of healthy atmosphere for inclusive education. After the debates both teachers and parents indicated the importance of frequent trainings on inclusive education.

It was very touching and impressing that during the seminars the children with and without disabilities were learning side by side considering it as natural and were willing to help them around the school (move from one place to another, explain things, if they had difficulty in listening, etc.).

Four essays posted on wall After roundtable discussions the children were asked to write essays on inclusive education: Out of 21 essays the best four pieces were published in “Krtutyun” newspaper and were posted in school wall papers.

The project enabled the school staff to increase their network and partnership among NGOs, such as “Havat”, World Vision International in Armenia, “Nrani”, “Perkutyun”, “Bridge of Hope”, which deal with people with disabilities as well.

So now the school staff is ready to organize training at their own initiative with other teachers and students. This willingness and change in their involvement level is an indicator of a long-term impact and will, in the end, promote more tolerance and acceptance leading to increased inclusion and more openness by the community.



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