Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Touching the World through Schools

Welcome to team LIFE blog this week. It has been a very interesting week in Sandema for us! We
finally began to see the manifestation of all our ideas in action through school sensitisations.  We had a busy week planned as we visited four schools, which were Success JHS Afoko Iyeta and preparatory Junior High. The planning of the sensitizations was completely up to us as a team, and how we used our creativity was ours to decide.

Firstly, due to our project focusing on disability awareness and the rights of individuals who are getting infringed. We knew we had to come up with scenarios and games that would stimulate the mind of the students on how life is for a person living with disabilities.  This would be the perfect way to help change the perception of the students and create impact for all who attended.

We started off with the ‘diversity’ game. The rules are: the facilitator asks the students to stand in a line then questions are asked. Then, if the questions are applicable to you, you move forward.  A few examples being: ‘If you’re from Sandema step forward’; ‘If you have ever helped a person with a form of disability step forward’; ‘If you’re aware that mental health is a form of disability step forward’.

Reading the questions I am sure you can understand that we asked questions to stimulate responses and also give us a basic understanding of where the students were in regards to their knowledge of disability. The response from the students in all schools we attended was captivating to see.  When they stepped forward, they immediately looked around at their peers and realised that no one is the same in society and we all illuminate diverse aspects of creation.

Next on the agenda was the facilitation of discussion between us and the students on equality. The
aim was to get a feel for how they felt about
everyone being equal in society.  So we asked the students are we all equal? How are we all equal? And if not how can we promote equality in society today? The kids always interacted, however they started to realise that people with disabilities unfortunately aren’t treated equal in their local communities. It was touching to see them give answers that will begin to promote equality and inclusion in their local communities.

By this time the kids had started to gain a basic understanding of the picture we were trying to create in their mind. Next, it was time to make them actually experience the limitations that people with disabilities experience on a daily basis. So, what better way of doing that than to create the illusion of being visually impaired? We asked them to close their eyes and pick an object up without seeing it. We then created the illusion of being physically impaired by asking them to pick up an object without using their arms.

The activities went amazingly because it created impact through experience.  Seeing the students try and pick up an object without being able to use their hands or their sight helped the others begin to expand their thought process on  how people with disabilities live in their communities. There is nothing better than actively participating in an activity to gain a better understanding.

To emphasise the effect of disability on one’s
life, we decided to invite someone with a disability to speak with the students. So, we welcomed the legend and past volunteer of the ICS program Paul to come and speak to the kids about his life story.  He aided us in changing perceptions on how people with disabilities are stigmatized in the local community. He created massive impact by telling the students how they should not judge others with disabilities as we are all one - we are all human. After Paul had said his part, it was evident that the message he delivered had got through to the students as they were all captivated by his story.

In conclusion, Paul’s story, the ‘illusion of having disabilities’ activity, and our communications with students throughout, all came together to create a fun and educational sensitization. It was a rewarding experience for both the students and ourselves!

Thank you for reading the blog and remember, it is all of our jobs to CHANGE our WORLD.

Written by Akinsoji Akinnawo

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