Education is the one thing that has the capability to change the face of the world. Having said that, it is imperative that this domain remains free from all kinds of discrimination, disturbances and differences. When the whole world is striving for diversity and equality, the true test of our progress lies in how we include and empower every member of society, regardless of their abilities.
The concept of inclusion in education has progressed over the years, extending its embrace to those who were once marginalized - children with special needs. The transformation of education for special needs students is not just an obligation but a testimony to our commitment to creating more compassionate and capable generations. We are taking you on a journey into the realm of redefined inclusion, where together we will explore how it is redesigning the backdrop of education for students with special needs.
The impact of inclusive education can be better understood through these eye-opening statistics:
- According to the World Bank, more than 85% of primary-age children with disabilities who are not in school have never got any formal education. On average, one out of every three children with disabilities in the primary school age group is not enrolled in school, in contrast to one out of seven children without disabilities.
- Nearly approximately 75% of the 79 lakh children with disabilities in India, who are aged five years, do not participate in any educational institution.
- According to a report, about 20% of the schools in India stick to the concept and provision of inclusive education, with just about 1% of teachers actually qualified and capable of delivering the required education.
- According to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), there should be zero rejection of students at elementary level education, making elementary or pre-primary education global and mandatory for all. As a result of this scheme, nearly 2.3 lakh schools have been made “barrier free” across the country.
The Power of Redefined Inclusion: How NGOs stand as the bridge between discrimination and inclusion:
Inclusion, once limited only to physical presence, caste, creed and background, has now evolved to embrace a more comprehensive and holistic approach. Beyond merely placing children with special needs in the same classroom, the redefined concept focuses on creating a conducive environment that caters to diverse learning styles, capabilities, and needs. By doing so, we are not just imparting education - we are nurturing an inclusive society that values every individual's contribution.
The biggest role in this paradigm shift is that of NGOs that work towards promoting and supporting the education of children with special needs. The role of NGOs in nurturing inclusive education for students with special needs is nothing short of revolutionary.
At Give, we celebrate the invaluable contributions of these NGOs, and acknowledge that together, we can pave the way for an inclusive world where education truly surpasses all boundaries. Here are just some ways in which they are bringing about the transformation:
- NGOs as Facilitators of Change: NGOs are beacons of hope, working vigorously to bridge the gaps that conservative education systems often ignore. They act as catalysts of change by supporting the efforts of governments, educational institutions, and communities. NGOs bring about innovation, advocacy, and customized solutions that endow students with special needs to flourish in environments in which they get educated.
- Promoting Access to Quality Education: NGOs focus on improving access to quality education for students with special needs, particularly in places where resources are scarce. They help set up schools, create necessary infrastructure, resource centres, and community-based programs that cater to the unique learning needs of these students. They not only connect the children to the local organizations, but also to the global platform where the resources are at par with the changing pace of time.
- Activism and Policy Change: NGOs are influential in advocating for policy changes that promote inclusive education. They engage with policymakers, educational institutions, and other stakeholders to ensure that policies and regulations are created to protect the rights of the underserved and ensure equitable education of students with special needs. Their untiring efforts lead to universal transformations that help countless little souls.
- Training and Development for Teachers: Teachers or educators are the backbone of any educational system, and it is imperative that educators are equipped with the skills and knowledge to effectively teach students with diverse abilities. Many NGOs that work for education for children with special needs conduct workshops, mentoring sessions, and conferences for teachers to enhance their understanding of inclusive teaching methods. By creating a community of well-equipped teachers, these NGOs contribute to nurturing an inclusive learning environment.
- Parental Support and Counselling: NGOs understand the importance of involving parents and caregivers in the journey of a child's education, especially when it comes to students with special needs. They provide suitable resources, organize workshops, and run support groups to empower parents with the required knowledge and approaches that enable them to advocate effectively for their children's education. This all-inclusive approach strengthens the partnership between home and school, thereby making disability education a little less difficult and a lot more efficient.
- Creating Awareness and Promoting Acceptance: Through mass campaigns, public events, and general awareness initiatives, NGOs contribute to changing social notions and outlooks towards people with special needs. By creating a culture of acceptance and understanding, these NGOs break down the barriers and pave the way for more inclusive and accepting communities.
- Inspiring Collaborative Efforts: Arguably one of the most remarkable aspects of NGOs is their capability to bring various stakeholders together for a common cause. NGOs enable collaborations between teachers, parents, policymakers, philanthropists, and communities to work towards the goal of inclusive education. These partnerships and collaborations magnify the impact of their efforts and create a wave of positive change.
NGOs That Are Redefining Learning for Children with Special Educational Needs
Time and again, NGOs have proven that their efforts are very fruitful in many aspects. These organizations are making significant contributions to the field of inclusive education and child development, and their efforts are crucial in shaping a more inclusive and equitable future. Here are some of the NGOs that are a part of Give, and our joy is boundless when we introduce them to you.
- Learning Curve Life Skills Foundation: Telangana based NGO Learning Curve Life Skills Foundation focuses on providing comprehensive life skills education for children with special needs. Their programs emphasize practical skills and personal development, equipping students to lead independent and fulfilling lives. They engage in collaboration with parents and conduct many teacher engagement programs as well.
- Pratham Books: Pratham Books is popular for creating high-quality reading material for children, including those with special needs. They create and publish diverse and inclusive books that cater to various learning styles, ensuring that all children have the opportunity to explore the world of reading.
- Deepalaya: Deepalaya is a Delhi based NGO that is committed to holistic development for marginalized and vulnerable children, including those with special needs. They also work towards lessening poverty, skill development, vocational training and empowerment of women from the backward sections of the society.
- Sambhav Foundation: This Bangalore based NGO is driven by the vision of an inclusive society for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They offer access to quality education, skill development, and support services to empower students with special needs with the skills they need to lead meaningful and successful lives.
- Raised Lines Foundation: Raised Lines Foundation from Sonipat (Haryana) is dedicated to making education more accessible for visually impaired students. They create books with tactile graphics and enhance accessibility that enable blind and visually impaired children to engage with their education in a better and more meaningful way.
- Indus Action: Delhi based Indus Action focuses on leveraging policy implementation to address gaps in education, especially at the primary level. Their initiatives aim to ensure that every child, irrespective of their socio-economic background and physical or cognitive abilities is able to access their entitlements and rights.
- ARVI Trust: This Dindigul (Tamil Nadu) based NGO is committed to providing education and life skills training to children and youth with cognitive disabilities, developmental disorders and those with hearing disabilities. Their programs emphasize functional skills that enable students to achieve greater independence, while enhancing their skills.
- Child Rights and You (CRY): CRY, a very popular name among NGOs working for Children with special educational needs, is dedicated to ensuring the rights and well-being of all children, including those with special needs. Through advocacy and mass initiatives, CRY works to create an enabling environment for all children to thrive, irrespective of their background.
- One Future Collective: One Future Collective, the Mumbai based organization is focused on promoting inclusion and diversity in the society by creating a league of leaders that can change the society for good. They work to create compassionate, efficient and knowledgeable youth that create safe and supportive spaces for individuals of all abilities, nurturing their potential and fostering a sense of belonging.
With the help of the above-mentioned NGOs and many more, Give aspires for a just and fair society where every individual, irrespective of their age, gender, socio-economic background and cognitive abilities gets access to good quality education, and creates a meaningful life for themselves.
Come, join hands with us, and help us create a world we all dream of!