HEAD Mobile School
The Head Mobile School for Children with Physical and Visual Disabilities:
Being one of the most remote and undeveloped districts in the rural Himalayas of Nepal, Specialized services for early detection and intervention for all disabilities are completely beyond the reach of poor families having such children in Humla.
Therefore, we have planned the project, the HEAD Mobile School since the establishment of the organization. The Mobile School is a first step to take literacy and education to the disabled children at their homes when they are themselves unable to come to schools.
The main principle of mobile school is to bring the school to the children. Acquisition of knowledge by all, able or disabled, rich or poor, must rest first on the principle of universal access to education. This means that for hundreds of disabled children in the Humla district that cannot come to school because of cost and disability, the school must go to them.
Due to the lack of road accessibility, The mobile school consists of two horses which have a saddler on each of their back and the first one accommodate the teacher and assistant, who drive the horses around to take literacy and education to distant rural homes. The second horse is used for transporting teaching and other supporting equipment.
The major goal of the project is to promote literacy and inclusive education for children with disabilities and their parents in rural Nepal through operating different units of Mobile School with literacy-based educational training at their homes and ultimately integrate them into the mainstream education system. With the Mobile School classes, the teachers will visit homes regularly, locate disabled children, assess their situation, and provide them training on daily living skills (independent living), orientation/mobility skills, confidence building, and basic health and sanitation including their parents. In the second part of the program, the children will be taken to the world of literacy and formal education.
Mobile Blind School for Children with Visual Impairment 2011
The beneficiaries of the Mobile Blind School in 2011 are blind or partially sighted children in the Humla district. Their parents and family members and the community at large are the indirect target group of the project. To reach visually impaired children in remote and inaccessible villages and to prepare them for mainstream education, HEAD Nepal started a Mobile Blind School. Because if the child cannot go to school, THE SCHOOL SHOULD GO TO THE CHILD? (N. Krishna Swamy, Vidya Briksah India). This school is providing Braille literacy, confidence/communication, mobility/orientation, motor skills, and daily living skills training by directly going to the child’s house in the villages.
Read about our identification process of children with visual impairment in different villages in 2011
As per the previous structure, Humla had 27 Village Development Committees (VDCs). The mobile blind school worked in 8 VDCs, especially in the upper part of Humla. In those 8 VDCs, HEAD Nepal identified 2 blind and 23 partially sighted children aged 3 to 15 years. Most of the older children attended regular schools, but they face big difficulties, such as
- to read text on the blackboard
- to use textbooks
- to integrate with their sighted peers
The totally blind teenagers never been to school due to their disability. The teacher travelled to the villages on foot or horseback. If necessary, a horse is used to carry the materials which are required to conduct classes in the community such as Braille kids (slate, stylus, etc). In April 2011, Mobile Blind School unit had been established in five villages serving 8 VDCs of Humla. It is the responsibility of the parents to take their children to these units for weekly classes. The mobile blind school insured regular training. Between four and eight students participated in the different units. Altogether 25 children were benefited with the Mobile School 2011. Classes were held once a week for four hours, the rest of the week the parents should practice with the children what they learned during classes.
Therefore it is important to involve the parents of the visually impaired children and other family members as much as possible in the training process. After a year of training, the children are integrated into mainstream community school residing at the HEAD Nepal home facility/residential center for these children in Simikot started in May 2012. the activist journey the hidden light of hope of humla Almost at the end of this project in November 2011, Head Nepal collaborating with a Singaporean television Company, August Pictures Pte Ltd. produced a film entitled “The Activist Journey 2-The Hidden Light of Hope of Humla” on the Activities of Head Mobile Blind School and was on air in 2012 in Singapore. In 2013 the film was awarded a Bronze World Medal by New York Film Festival 2013.
Mobile School for Children with disabilities in 2016:
Upon the successful operation of the first Mobile School in 2011 for children with visual impairment, after there we ran a numbers of the mobile schools in Humla for children with physical and visual impairment. The second phase of the Mobile School was started in 2014 targeting to the children with disabilities in the middle part of Humla where 44 children with disabilities were identified and conducted training for the children and paretns for 6 months. Likewise, the third phase of the Mobile School was conducted in 2016 and the project was officially inaugurated on 25th of March 2016 through organizing a formal program with participation of local government authorities/officers, NGOs/INGOs representatives, Media personells etc. in Simikot Humla.
The teacher, Lokraj Shahi and the assistant teacher, Rumala Shahi visited 11 Millage Development Committee for 15 days and identified 142 children with different disabilities, (minor to severe impairments). The necessary supplies for the school such as stationaries for the children, tends for classroom, sleeping bags, bags etc. were arranged and two horses for the school were procured. The classes for the children this time with Mobile School ran for 6 months from April to September 2016. As the result of the Mobile School 2016, many children with physical disabilities were identified and considering the need of an accessible residential educational center, the Head Enable Home was started in Simkot.
Mobile School for Children with disabilities in 2018:
In June 2019, HEAD Nepal, with financial support from the Nepal Gives Foundation and the Wild Geese Foundation in the Netherlands, started the fourth phase of Mobile School for the Children with Disabilities in the Himalayas, targeting about 228 children with disabilities in Adanchuli and Tanjakot Rural Municipality (RM) of lower Humla. As per the mobile school conducted in 2018 in the mentioned RMs, we identified the large number and these children need further support for their integration and inclusion to mainstream education and society at large.
Realizing and understanding this fact, HEAD Nepal with financial support from Stichting Nepal Geeft and Stichting Wilde Ganzen started this project. Right from the starting month, June till July 2020, we have conducted the actual activities as follows:
- Coordination meeting and project inception with local government representatives/authorities and other stakeholders.
- Field class schedule preparation, consultation and preparation meeting with the parents of the children with disabilities and community people.
- Conducted the baseline survey of the children with disabilities in the target location.
- Preparing and updating previously designed class modules, training materials for children, parents and teachers (preparation of basic Nepali sign language book, training manual on daily living skills, Braille literacy, Orientation and mobility skill,).
- Teacher capacity building (ToT): both teachers, Lokraj and Bhakta and the project officer, Nirmal Bista participated in the Training of Trainer (ToT) conducted in Simikot on mainly 4 different areas, Nepali Sign Language, Braille, Orientation&Mobility, and Daily Living Skills in July and August 2019.
- Material/equipments and supplies management: as provisioned in the project budget, all the equipment, materials and stationaries required for the management and conduction of the classes for the children and the family members was procured in Nepalgunj by the Teacher, Bhakta and Executive Director, Chhitup Lama in the beginning of September and transported them to the project site through Mugu and Bajura on the road.
- Conduction of home-based classes on daily living skills, mobility skills, literacy, and confident building for children with disabilities in the both Tajakot and Adanchuli Rural Municipalities of Humla district.
- Training for the parents and family members on disability awareness, disability management skills and government services/benefit for children with disabilities.
- Support service for family having children wit disabilities in obtaining a disability ID card and assist in accessing government benefits/services including registration to community schools.
- Teacher Training with school teachers about the inclusive education, disability sensative behavior and disabled friendly teaching and school environment.
- Orientation with local authorities/representatives on Disability Card provision, other state services and benefits for children with disabilities.
- Field visit and monitoring: the Project Officer/Communication Officer, Nirmal Bista visited the location of the Mobile School in Adanchuli and Tanjakot RM from 1st to 10th November 2019 to see the effectiveness of the project activities in the field.
The major achievement (results) of the mobile school project:
- Local representatives and authorities in the targeted Rural Municipality became more responsible and accountable towards the rights and needs of people with disabilities in general and children with disabilities in particular.
- The training modules on Braille, Orientation/Mobility, Daily Living and Basic Nepali Sign Language have been prepared, published and used during the classes for the children with disabilities.
- Children with disabilities in Adanchuli and Tajakot RMs are capacitated on daily living skill, mobility skills, Braille literacy, communication and confident building.
- The parents and the family members became more aware on the rights, needs and condition of their children with disabilities.
- The process for establishing disability identity card distribution mechanism has been estabblished in both RMs and the system is going on positively.
- The local community schools turned very positive for integrating children with disabilities in the mainstream education system.
- Most of the children with disabilities who have mile and medium disability are registered/integrated to their community school.
- Both the RMs agreed to set up a residential educational center in Shreenagar of Adanchuli RM targeting for about 30 children with severe disabilities right after the lockdown is released. The center will be in operation after the Mobile School phaseout.
- RM level CSOs alliance in both RMs have been established under the mobile school activities to work for advocating for overall development and particularly for the rights of marginalized communities including people with disabilities.
Through the forth phase of the Mobile School, roundabout 500 people (230 children with disabilities, 230 their parents and family members, 20 teachers and 20 local representatives and authorities) got benefitted. About 230 children with different disabilities are trained and capacitated on daily living skills, mobility skills, Braille, communication skills and confident building. Most of them who have medium and mile disability are registered to community school. Their parents and family members are trained on rights and needs of children with disabilities and disability management so that they are now able to advocate for their children’s rights and benefits in local level. The teachers at local school are now more responsible towards inclusive education for children with disabilities and the local government representatives are accountable towards the empowerment and development of people with disabilities. A resource class (A residential educational centre for children with disabilities in Adanchuli was set up in March 2020 but will be in operation after the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.