One of the best ways to break down stigma and facilitate the inclusion of children with disabilities is to engage other children in the process.
Since 2015, we have been working with Child Support Tanzania to run the community campaign ‘Take All My Friends to School’. This campaign aims to make education a reality for all children with disabilities across Mbeya by increasing awareness of the number of children with disabilities who are out of school. Using the Child to Child approach, children already attending school are encouraged to identify and engage with out-of-school children with disabilities in their communities to help support them into school.
In 2017, with support from Comic Relief we were able to launch a scale up of this campaign and build on the success we had in raising awareness of the issue. The 4-year project is working with 8 government primary schools and early childhood centres in Mbeya to identify children with disabilities who are out of school in the surrounding communities and supports them to enrol into mainstream government schools.
Excitingly, this project takes a child-led approach by training teachers and parents in the inclusive Child-to-Child methodology, which has been developed began being developed by Able Child Africa and USDC in Uganda, facilitating information and best practice sharing across our partner network.