GUWAHATI, March 20 - The �Ring the Bell� campaign conducted by Shishu Sarothi concluded on Tuesday.
The week-long campaign aimed at including children with disabilities in educational institutions. It complemented the Centre�s flagship programme Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA).
The campaign was held in collaboration with SSA Assam and was organized at six partner SSA schools under the RAISE-NE Project. The campaign culminated at Shishu Sarothi.
�RAISE (Regional Action on Inclusive Education)-NE is a project to promote inclusive education in select districts of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura and aims at improving the quality of education for children with disabilities in government and government-supported schools. The project is supported by three INGOs � Light for the World, CBM and Liliane Fonds,� a Shishu Sarothi spokesperson said.
The Ring the Bell campaign is a pioneering initiative by Liliane Fonds, one of the INGO partners of RAISE-NE, to ensure the educational initiatives for children with disability across the world since 2012. The full participation of the students in the campaign draws the attention of the community, local governing body, media, etc., to enrol children with disabilities in educational institutions.
�It is a fact that the peers with a disability are not able to or not allowed to attend school because of various social factors such as non-accessibility, exclusion, etc. The campaign is aimed at increasing enrolment and retention of children with disabilities in mainstream schools, gaining community and parents� commitment to ensure inclusive education, ensuring that children with disabilities in schools are learning with their peers, and organizing rallies to spread awareness on social inclusion and Right to Education of children with disabilities,� the spokesperson added.
The campaign further focused on making the schools accessible (a child with disability should be able to access every part of the school) and child-friendly, besides reducing dropouts of children with disabilities in the regular schools due to lack of accessible toilets, ramps and child-friendly classrooms.
As part of the campaign, schoolchildren made lots of noise together for one minute in their schoolyard with bells and drums, etc., in order to sensitize the community on the enrolment of children with disability and to create awareness among teachers to provide equal opportunities for children with disabilities to participate in all classroom activities.
This was followed by a signature campaign where 1,500 students, including children with disabilities and their parents, 100 teachers and other members of the community participated.