Awareness Campaign to Highlight Educational Issues of Visually Impaired (VIP) Students in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) ( Grantee Name : AAAP Communications )
Brief Project Description
The disability sector has always been much ignored by mainstream media and policy sectors, and education for the disabled is rarely talked about. In fact it remains a neglected topic worthy of significant attention. This project focused on one kind of disabled people and that too only on their educational problems. As the name indicates, the project was about raising awareness for the educational problems that visually impaired (VIP) children are facing in KP. The project had the following phases: Problem identification: Research visits to VIP Schools in four districts of KP for surveying and understanding the problems these children face on a daily basis. Highlighting these problems on a national network through our radio show and creating awareness through a massive social media campaign. Advocacy session at the end of the project in order to suggest some solid, workable solutions to the problems. All stakeholders including the disabled community, donors, media, and government machinery were invited to move forward with a meaningful solution/change after this exercise.
Objectives To identify the educational problems of VIP students To raise awareness about these issues nationally through electronic and social media To present a solution to these problems to all stakeholders for the benefit of the entire VIP community in KP
Key Findings and Achievements
While the project is still in process, some findings and achievements are listed below.
Findings: There are no data available on disabled and visually impaired people in KP. There is no secondary level school for visually impaired children in KP. Enrolment in most of these schools averages 20 – 25. Not many people are willing to invest in the education of their visually impaired children. Educating blind girls is far less common than educating blind boys. The teachers in these schools are not trained in special education. Most children are too old for the classes they are studying in. For example, in Abbottabad, there is a 14 year-old student who still studies in Class 2. There are little to no sports facilities for visually impaired children. Writers are not available for taking exams. The 45-minute mandatory extra time in exams is not observed for these children. Even in schools that have computer labs, there are no instructors so the equipment is going to waste.
Achievements: So far, two radio shows have been aired and the public response has been tremendous. Many people called in and also voiced their responses through social media. AAAP Communications is in the process of discovering success stories of visually impaired children who made it big against all odds, and is going to make them heroes and inspirations through the social media campaign. The social media campaign is going on in full swing on Facebook, Twitter, and on the official website. The response on Facebook and Twitter has been massive, as the posts are being liked, shared, and retweeted in large numbers.