StandProud Education Program
Pictured above left: StandProud beneficiaries walk back to the rehabilitation center after school. The school is a ten minute walk from the center and gives beneficiaries a good opportunity to practice walking with their new orthopedic equipment. Photo credit to Reuters by Finbarr O'Reilly. Above right: StandProud female beneficiaries in school uniform (all the schools in the DRC have a strict uniform policy).
StandProud and ACDF are jointly dedicated to responding to the treatment and equipment needs of as many children with disabilities in the country as possible, knowing that increased mobility usually leads to increased dignity, integration, and opportunity. Recognizing, however, the importance of full social integration of persons with disabilities starting at an early age, StandProud and ACDF supplement their primary brace-provision activities with an education program.
Through the education program, parents of disabled children are given some financial assistance, enabling them to send their disabled children to regular neighborhood schools. At these schools they can study alongside local neighbourhood children, learning the same curricula, rather than the limited vocational curricula of segregated schools.
Giving our beneficiaries the opportunity of an education at a regular local school:
1) Combats destructive stereotypes in the society by giving teachers, school administrators, parents, other children and the disabled children themselves ample opportunity to observe that in most activities, children with disabilities are no different from anyone else.
2) Helps reduce stereotyping on a wider scale. A regular education gives children with disabilities equal opportunity to develop their intellectual and social capacities, thus ensuring that in DRC’s future, there will be a relatively visible pool of well-educated persons with disabilities exercising constructive roles in the workforce and in the society in general.
ACDF beneficiaries are ambitious. Many want to grow up to be doctors or lawyers. Prior to entering the program, however, their aspirations are often limited. This is the usual case for disabled persons in DRC, who are expected to attend a “special” school where they would learn a trade like book lamination, tailoring, shoe-repair, artifact crafting, etc.
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