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    Thursday, 14 March 2019

    We ring the bell Campaign commemorated in Masvingo




    SAMANTHA MAKHAZA
    MASVINGO – Residents of Mucheke Suburb in Masvingo were today treated to rare ringing of bells in the streets, to the sound of drums and trumpets as children from various schools commemorated a special day.
    It was soon for them to realise that this was We Ring the Bell Campaign Day (Wednesday March 13 2019) which is commemorated worldwide.
    We Ring the Bell Campaign is a call for inclusivity in education. It is a call for inclusive schools that do not segregate the able bodied from those living with disabilities.
     “We ring the bell campaign is a call to bring down all barriers to access to education. The bell is being rung to Policy makers to remove physical barriers to equal access to education, attitudinal barriers and to bring about policies that promote inclusivity. Children living with disabilities must learn with other children in mainstream schools,” said Yeukai Mandebvu, the national programmes assistant (child empowerment) for Leonard Cheshire at the campaign.
    Able-bodied and disabled children marched together from Mucheke Bus Terminus to Chikato Primary, one of the good examples of schools with inclusivity.
    The commemorations in Zimbabwe were supported by Leornard Cheshire Disability, a centre for creating opportunities for people living with disabilities. We ring the bell campaign is an initiative of Lillian Foundation of Netherlands and its commemorated once every year on a day in March.
    Chishire’s partners in Masvingo, Henry Murray School of the Deaf and Margret Hugo School for the Blind organised the event.
     At Chikato tens of children and scores of policy makers from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, the Ministry of Social Welfare and school heads and teachers from around Masvingo gathered for presentations.
    Speeches were delivered by various speakers including Fundisai Museva who represented Masvingo District Schools’ Inspector. It was noted at the commemorations that while Government is doing a lot to bring about inclusivity, it is still a long way to go for the goal where every disabled child has equal access to education is achieved.
    Museva pledged on behalf of Government to continue to support programmes on inclusivity.
    Some of the physical barriers for disabled children for equal access to education are ramps and rails said Mandebvu.
     “As an organization we believe that children with disabilities should not be quarantined, they should be enrolled in schools that enrol other children without disabilities, they too deserve to learn with others at the same school, so we are calling upon policy makers to put that in consideration,” she added.
     “It is constitutional that every child has a right to education and every child must have access to quality education, sign language has been considered as one of the country’s sixteen languages, with such improvements we can clearly see a roadmap to the inclusion of the disabled,” said Museva.


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