KISORO DEMONSTRATION SCHOOL
This is a state primary school with a difference, located in the large town of Kisoro close to the border with Rwanda and DRC. The name of the school reflects the fact that it is used extensively for teacher training and for new teachers to gain experience. The other unusual aspect of the school is that it has established facilities for the teaching of children who are deaf, visually impaired or blind, or have some other disabilities. Of 700 pupils, 98 have physical or mental disabilities. There are 24 teachers in the school of which 10 are dedicated to this department. The facilities required to teach disabled children are not funded by the state, which does not seem to recognise the need to provide educational opportunities for physically disadvantaged children. (Blind and partially sighted children are often unable to contribute to family income.) The deaf children are taught using sign language in small dedicated classes and blind children are integrated into mainstream classes but need extra attention and specialised equipment. Some of the children with disabilities are orphans and some others lack proper care due to rejection, poverty or sickness. Moreover, these children are drawn from a wide catchment area and have to board at the school in term time, relying on parents or outside funding for this. Some children have no home to go to and they board during the holidays.
SEDCU is now sponsoring several children here, both blind and profoundly deaf. Our funding pays for the special facilities they need and their boarding costs. We are kept informed of the children’s progress through termly reports and photographs. Our return visits reconfirmed for us the importance of sponsorship for these children.