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News and Events

26.12.2016

"The Only Disability in Life is a Bad Attitude from Society," says Tea, the teacher of the Zestafoni school #7

Equal access to educational and employment opportunities is considered a fundamental right, according to the Georgian constitution. However, it is clear that when it comes to the delivery of basic educational and employment opportunities to people with disabilities, real opportunities are hard to come by.

 

The lack of special educational resources, qualification of teachers and negative stereotypical attitudes are considerable barriers that hinder young people with disabilities from getting a proper education and accessing good job opportunities in the future.

 

Zestafoni Public School #7 is one of the largest schools in the Imereti region with 1,080 registered students. Among them are 13 students with special educational needs and 7 students with disabilities, including children with Attention Deficit Disorder, Hyperactivity syndrome, Cerebral palsy, Visual and Hearing impairment, Autism spectrum and Epilepsy. One of the long-standing problems of this school was the lack of adapted space for students with disabilities.  The school also had problems connected with a low awareness about disability among students and teachers, which was leading to the stigmatization of students with disabilities in the school. Tea Turmanidze, a young and very motivated teacher together with the school administration were working hard to solve these problems.

 

"In Imereti region, our school has the highest number of students with disabilities. For a long time, the school lacked a proper resource room that is very important for the education of students with special educational needs. The awareness about disability was quite low in our school.  My colleagues and I wrote project proposals and addressed number of non-governmental organizations trying to get support but we had no success. Despite of these setbacks, we were determined to move forward and wouldn’t stop until we solved the problems," says Tea.


In 2016 People in Need, under the project, “Support to Social Inclusion of Youth with Disabilities in Georgia” financed by the Czech Development Agency, announced a small grant competition for school initiatives aiming to develop a more inclusive educational environment for students with disabilities in schools and raise awareness in the community.

 

"In 2016 we learned about the small grants contest announced by People in Need, in a short while, together with students, we prepared a project proposal and despite previous failures we were confident that this time we would succeed," says Tea.

 

People in Need project evaluation committee selected the project of Zestaponi N7 Public School "Path to Inclusion" as one of the 6 winner initiatives and awarded it with a small grant.  


"We were very happy that our proposal was approved. The amount of money was not big, but it was enough to re-equip the resource room with books and other educational materials, also to conduct awareness raising trainings on disability for the students, parents and school staff. We have printed informational brochures about rights of people with disability and proper terminology, distributing them in the community, organized excursions to museums, parks and historic monuments.  The grant also allowed us to plan various in and outdoor activities such as street chalk drawing, flash mobs, dance performances, songs contests as well as different educational and fun games that ensured the full participation of the students with disabilities.  Our project contributed to breaking many barriers and stereotypes students with disabilities faced in the school, thus encouraged and promoted a more inclusive environment in the community," added Tea.

 

"During the joint activities students saw that people with disabilities are not different and that they have the same feelings, emotions and the same needs of friendship, support and entertainment. Such activities dismantle the barriers between students with and without disabilities," notes Tea.


On December 2nd, the project "Path to Inclusion" was finished. We have visited the Zestafoni Public School N7 to speak with Tea about the project’s achievements and challenges.

 

"Thanks to the project, things are different today in our school. The students' attitudes towards persons with disabilities have changed significantly. The students have expressed a desire to get involved and work with their classmates who have disabilities in the resource room on handicrafts (jewelry, accessories, toys, etc.) and there is an increased awareness about the importance of equality and inclusion among the students. Now we all know that people are different but equal and we are all responsible for creating equal opportunities!” proudly concludes Tea.

nal and employment opportunities is considered a fundamental right, according to the Georgian constitution. However, it is clear that when it comes to the delivery of basic educational and employment opportunities to people with disabilities, real opportunities are hard to come by.

 

The lack of special educational resources, qualification of teachers and negative stereotypical attitudes are considerable barriers that hinder young people with disabilities from getting a proper education and accessing good job opportunities in the future.

 

Zestafoni Public School #7 is one of the largest schools in the Imereti region with 1,080 registered students. Among them are 13 students with special educational needs and 7 students with disabilities, including children with Attention Deficit Disorder, Hyperactivity syndrome, Cerebral palsy, Visual and Hearing impairment, Autism spectrum and Epilepsy. One of the long-standing problems of this school was the lack of adapted space for students with disabilities.  The school also had problems connected with a low awareness about disability among students and teachers, which was leading to the stigmatization of students with disabilities in the school. Tea Turmanidze, a young and very motivated teacher together with the school administration were working hard to solve these problems.

 

"In Imereti region, our school has the highest number of students with disabilities. For a long time, the school lacked a proper resource room that is very important for the education of students with special educational needs. The awareness about disability was quite low in our school.  My colleagues and I wrote project proposals and addressed number of non-governmental organizations trying to get support but we had no success. Despite of these setbacks, we were determined to move forward and wouldn’t stop until we solved the problems," says Tea.


In 2016 People in Need, under the project, “Support to Social Inclusion of Youth with Disabilities in Georgia” financed by the Czech Development Agency, announced a small grant competition for school initiatives aiming to develop a more inclusive educational environment for students with disabilities in schools and raise awareness in the community.

 

"In 2016 we learned about the small grants contest announced by People in Need, in a short while, together with students, we prepared a project proposal and despite previous failures we were confident that this time we would succeed," says Tea.

 

People in Need project evaluation committee selected the project of Zestaponi N7 Public School "Path to Inclusion" as one of the 6 winner initiatives and awarded it with a small grant.  


"We were very happy that our proposal was approved. The amount of money was not big, but it was enough to re-equip the resource room with books and other educational materials, also to conduct awareness raising trainings on disability for the students, parents and school staff. We have printed informational brochures about rights of people with disability and proper terminology, distributing them in the community, organized excursions to museums, parks and historic monuments.  The grant also allowed us to plan various in and outdoor activities such as street chalk drawing, flash mobs, dance performances, songs contests as well as different educational and fun games that ensured the full participation of the students with disabilities.  Our project contributed to breaking many barriers and stereotypes students with disabilities faced in the school, thus encouraged and promoted a more inclusive environment in the community," added Tea.

 

"During the joint activities students saw that people with disabilities are not different and that they have the same feelings, emotions and the same needs of friendship, support and entertainment. Such activities dismantle the barriers between students with and without disabilities," notes Tea.


On December 2nd, the project "Path to Inclusion" was finished. We have visited the Zestafoni Public School N7 to speak with Tea about the project’s achievements and challenges.

 

"Thanks to the project, things are different today in our school. The students' attitudes towards persons with disabilities have changed significantly. The students have expressed a desire to get involved and work with their classmates who have disabilities in the resource room on handicrafts (jewelry, accessories, toys, etc.) and there is an increased awareness about the importance of equality and inclusion among the students. Now we all know that people are different but equal and we are all responsible for creating equal opportunities!” proudly concludes Tea.

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