SWEB seeks right to education of children with disabilities
April 20, 2015
GHANA: Mr David Norden Botwey, Executive Director of the Samuel Wellington Botwey (SWEB) Foundation, has urged leaders to formulate and implement policies and programs to facilitate children with disabilities to access education because it is their right to be in school.
He said “schools should be literally and figuratively more accessible and open to children with disabilities.”
“Teachers and teaching materials should meet their needs, and everyone needs to realize that education is a basic right, also for every child with a disability,” he told the Ghana News Agency on Thursday to commemorate Global Action on Education for Children with Disabilities, which falls on March 12.
To mark the day, hundreds of thousands of pupils in primary education in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America will today take part in the annual action christened: “We Ring The Bell.”
“By doing this, they seek attention for the right to education of children with disabilities, who are not able to go to school,” said Mr Botwey.
He said the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters Preparatory and Junior High School at Namong in Offinso in the Ashanti Region, will today perform activities, including ringing of bells for policymakers to hear their voices and take action.
The activity will be carried out worldwide in the same way, he said, adding that school children with and without disabilities, will make “a tremendous racket together for one minute, with things like bells and drums, in their school yards.”
“They hope to attract the attention of policy-makers and others who are in positions to eliminate the barriers that prevent children with disabilities from going to school,” the director added.
‘We Ring The Bell,’is an initiative of the Dutch Liliane Foundation, based in the Netherlands, working in partnership with the Samuel Wellington Botwey(SWEB) Foundation.
SWEB supports the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters to offer rehab services to children with disabilities, including their education.
“But more is needed, both in our country and in the rest of the world,” Mr Botwey said.
In 2000, Eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were agreed by nearly 200 members of the United Nations, but one of the goals, that by 2015, every child should attend primary school, has not yet been achieved, he said.
He said worldwide, more and more children – 89 percent- go to school, but for children with disabilities, this is not the case.
Only 10 percent of disabled children in low and middle income countries attend school, and even in the Netherlands their participation in education remains low.
‘We Ring The Bell,’ is an annual activity, but in 2015 it is more important than ever.
The United Nations is working hard on the Sustainable Development Goals, the world goals that follow on from the MDGs from 2016 onwards.
The focus of the new goals should be on those who have not benefited from the MDGs, Mr Botwey noted.
“That means especially children and adults with disabilities,” he added.
“Their situation since 2000 has hardly improved, it is high time that this changed, and the louder the call sounds all over the world, the better it will be heard,” he said.