Inclusive Education

The case of Fatimah.

In 2007, a woman came to the PBK Centre and Pre-School in Kabul with her daughter, whose name was Fatimah. The girl was 8 years old, but she seemed weak and looked much younger than her age. According to the mother Fatimah she weighed a mere 1.3 kg at birth, and had never grown like her other children.

When Fatimah enrolled in our pre-school she had difficulties walking, she was a slow eater, and learned at a very slow pace. She was given full attention by her teacher, who also helped her to build relationships with the other children in her class. Gradually, she made friends with her classmates.

She was encouraged to participate in all the different non-curricular activities in our school, such as sports, music and games. Over time she gained confidence and physical strength. Within 2 years she improved considerably. She could read and write the numbers from 1 to 50. She could recognise the Dari alphabet, and she had learned how to write her own name as well as the names of her parents.

When we realised that Fatimah had learnt all the basic things she would need to start school we spoke to her mother about it, but her mother was worried and said: “My daughter is too weak to go to a normal school. The children will beat her, push her and make her fall and she will break her bones.”

Although happy with her daughter’s progress, she was afraid for her safety and wellbeing. However, the director of our pre-school knew that if Fatimah was given a chance she would benefit more from going to a regular school than she would remain ing in our centre. So he tried to convince her parents that it would be best for their daughter to go to a regular community school. Finally, the parents agreed and Fatimah was admitted into the neighbourhood school like all the other children in the community.

Thanks to the preparation she had received in the pre-school, Fatimah was accepted. At the age of 10 Fatimah finally had a chance to start her primary education. Her mother noticed that Fatimah was happy when she went to school, and when she came back home, she did her homework nicely. The mother went to the school to ask the teacher about how her daughter performed in school. According to Fatimah’s teacher, she is active in class and has a good self esteem. Whenever she asks her students to do something or to write on the blackboard, Fatimah is always the first to raise her hand and say, “I CAN DO IT.”

We are so happy to tell you this story because it proves to us that our efforts bear fruit, and that work we do here at the PBK Centre and in our pre-school gave Fatimah the preparation she needed to succeed in school and gave her new confidence in life. Her mother said that if Fatimah had not come to our centre, she would not even have been able even to stand on her own two feet because she was too physically weak, and she would not have been able to learn and develop her intellectual abilities.

Last year we had our first experience with sending children to regular schools, and just like Fatimah’s parents, many of the other parents were worried and sceptical about the idea of their children joining a “normal” school. But when they see all the positive results children have made, they begin to have faith in their children and their abilities to learn and play with other children. The parents are happy to find this kind of pre-school that helps children with disabilities prepare for an education in the regular neighbourhood schools. With just a little help, the lives of children have changed, and the fear of rejection has been replaced with hope.

Associazione Pro Bambini di Kabul – PBK Centre Kabul

Filed in: Generale, News from PBK Centre

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