A Barrier-Free School

Physically-challenged 12-year-old Abdullah was enrolled in Grade-VI in Govt High School Charsadda Khas, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As he was physically-challenged, it was somehow easy for him to attend the classes on the ground floor while he a primary grade student. After his promotion to the Grade-VI, his classroom was shifted to the first floor and walking upstairs to attending the class became very difficult for Abdullah.

However, Abdullah continued to attend the school which was devastated in the wake of the worst flood in 2010 which rendered millions homeless and livestock, agriculture and businesses penniless. The playground and other rest areas were totally destroyed by the floods raging waters.

Abdullah would usually spend all his time in the classroom because it was difficult for him to come downstairs, play or eat and then go upstairs to attend lessons. Even his classfellows were found reluctant in helping him keep in their accompany.

Fortunately, CHEF International’s team visited the school and the local communities and teachers apprised them of the problems being faced by the students. It is recommended that school facilities should allow all students, with or without handicaps, to fulfil their education without hindrance. The facilities should also act as a base for the local community’s lifelong learning experience, and should always be ready to be utilized as an emergency shelter in case of fires or earthquakes. Therefore, moving forward with making school facilities barrier-free is an important challenge.

CHEF International renovated the school, restored its playground and embedded the facilities including ramps and railing bars for the children with physical disabilities. The promotion of barrier-free school facilities must be mandatory to facilitate children with disabilities,” says Sohail Ayyaz Khan, Chief Executive Officer, CHEF International, adding that these facilities should be among the fundamentals of the structural design & planning of barrier-free schools. However, he added that it is difficult to say that it has been done to an adequate level in Pakistan.

Historically, special education research has focused on placement and service-delivery options rather than on the broader school environment. CHEF International is playing its role and putting in efforts to organize education for students with disabilities.

After flood our school ground was covered with mud. WE were unable to continue our studies.  When a team of CHEF International came to our school for screening they talk to me and my teachers. I told them that as my class room is upstairs so the basic problem is for me right now is to use stairs with a school bag. Then the team has a discussion with my class teacher and school Principal.

They also renovate our school and build ramps and installed railing bars. In next week my class room was shifted down stairs was shifted down stairs. one day my father came to school  to talk to my  teacher about my academic progress there he noticed these ramps and vision bars and ask a teacher about it . After being told the main concept of this thing s. they realized that this was the training outcome which make then realized about issues faced by a Person with disabilities.

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