Access to primary school for children with a disability

Disabled people in Bangladesh have a difficult time. They are at a disadvantage in many areas of life. In most cases discrimination starts as soon as they are born: parents are ashamed of a disabled child and hide it so that nobody finds out about it. There are no state institutions that can care for the disabled, and desperate parents are left to their own resources. In order to promote acceptance of disabled people in Bangladesh, CSI Lëtzebuerg has set up a project with the aim of putting an end to discrimination.

The project in brief

Under this project 214 children with disabilities will be able to attend primary school. There they will be looked after by specially trained teachers and supported according to their individual capabilities.. In addition to the school fees, the project also covers the cost of school materials.

The project is also concerned with the children’s physical abilities. They are treated by physiotherapists and receive any equipment they might need (wheelchair, hearing aid etc.) so as to make their everyday life easier.

As the children attend normal schools, the school infrastructure is not usually geared to the needs of the disabled. The premises are therefore adapted by installing ramps and disabled toilets, and by equipping classrooms to meets the needs of the project participants.

In the course of the project 60 teachers from 20 schools will be trained in how to teach and properly care for children with disabilities.

So as to permanently improve the situation of disabled children, the project activities must also embrace the local environment, in other words the participants’ families and people in general must be made more aware of the rights of the disabled and taught how to treat them correctly. 

Total project cost (2017-2020): €207 980

80 % of this amount will be covered by the Luxembourg Foreign Ministry. The rest (€41 596) will be contributed by CSI and the local partner organisation.

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School integration of children with disabilities

During the Vietnam War, US forces sprayed some 80 million litres of the highly toxic defoliant Agent Orange onto the Vietnamese jungle. The consequences of this are still being felt by the local population today. Children are still being born with deformities and increased susceptibility to cancer. Their desperate parents are largely left to their own devices and often have no idea how to cope with a disabled child. They are sometimes even ashamed of their child’s disability and marginalise the child. This can lead to secondary handicaps which adversely affect the child’s future prospects.  

The project in brief:        

The aim of the project is to give 400 disabled children aged between 6 and 15 a chance of a decent future by offering them an education. The idea is to prepare the children for attending a mainstream school nearby, taking account of their possibilities. Every year 75 children will attend one of the five transitional classes, to be will be taught and cared for by a multidisciplinary team of special-needs teachers, psychologists and social assistants. All children also receive the necessary school materials, plus any medical equipment they need (hearing aid, walking aid or wheelchair).

In order to facilitate the school integration of disabled children, action to enhance awareness of the subject of inclusive education is organised for school heads, teachers and parents of both disabled and non-disabled children. Regular workshops take place, at which participants learn how to deal correctly with the disabled.

Furthermore, 60 teachers who have at least one disabled child in their class regularly attend in-service training courses on the subject of inclusive education and specific support.

Total project cost: (2017-2020): €241 674,78 

80% of this amount will be provided by the Luxembourg Foreign Ministry. The remaining 20% (€53 168,40) be covered by CSI together with the partner organisation. 

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Access to education for disadvantaged children and adolescents

Most of the population of Bangladesh live on the breadline and have not more than a modest roof over their heads. Therefore even the youngest children have to do physically strenuous or even dangerous jobs. Education is a real luxury, even though it would be so important that all children attend school, so as to be able to escape permanently from the vicious circle of poverty and illiteracy. Education not only contributes to tackling overpopulation, improving healthcare and solving the problem of waste; it also enables people to learn a trade, with which they can feed their families.

The project in brief:

The impetus for this project came from a request from a number of young people for a scholarship. Our partner organisation could hardly turn down the request, as it knows that education is often the only way to escape from poverty. As a result, a total of 40 students receive a scholarship enabling them to continue their studies. In return for this support, and so that they can give something back to other disadvantaged people, these students have been asked to spend several hours a day teaching at the partner organisation’s primary schools. These schools are currently attended by 1600 children from socially disadvantaged families. The school materials for these children are financed through the project.

All students attend teacher training to prepare them for their task and to guarantee the quality of education. 

In addition to the 1600 children at primary school, every year 160 street children attend a pre‑school. The aim is first of all to get them off the streets into a safe environment, and secondly to prepare them for primary school. Once children have completed pre‑school, their parents are encouraged to register them for primary school. The costs are covered through the project.

Total project cost (2017-2020): €250 780

80% of this amount will be provided by the Luxembourg Foreign Ministry. The remaining 20% (€50 156) will be covered by CSI together with the partner organisation.

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Improving the school infrastructure for children from poor families

India is an extremely diverse country: a billion people of different religions live there, 23 languages are officially recognised, and there are innumerable regional and linguistic distinctions. Economically speaking, the country has been making progress for several years. Large companies are investing massively in its economy, the middle class is becoming increasingly affluent, and the standard of living continues to rise steadily. But unfortunately, many people are left behind. As there is little scope for upward social mobility, the lower castes often have no choice but to accept their destiny. The economic boom in their country almost completely passes them by. This is why CSI Lëtzebuerg is supporting children from difficult social backgrounds through a project designed to improve learning conditions.

The project in brief:

At St Antony's School in Pondicherry (South-East India), 800 children with a disability and from socially disadvantaged families are taught free of charge. Their parents mostly have badly paid jobs in the informal sector (e.g. as porters or rickshaw drivers), leaving them with no money to spare. The school employs 30 teachers, of whom six are specially trained to teach children with disabilities.

Although the school receives grants from the state, it must cover infrastructure costs itself. CSI is therefore helping St Antony's School to finance various acquisitions in order to improve the quality of learning for its pupils.

For example, CSI is paying for the equipping of a computer laboratory and the purchase of a new drinking water tank. A meeting room for parents will also be set up as part of the project, and tables and benches for the new library will be purchased. Given the sometimes intolerable temperatures in the classrooms, CSI will also fund the purchasing of 14 ceiling fans.

In addition to the spending on infrastructure, pupils with psychological disorders will be cared for throughout the duration of the project by specially trained staff.

Total project cost: (2017-2020): €180 419.80

80% of this amount will be provided by the Luxembourg Foreign Ministry. The remaining 20% (€36 083,96) will be covered by CSI together with the partner organisation.

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Support for young girls through education and by sensitising society

Equal rights for women – a difficult process in Bangladesh. Girls have to take a back seat in many fields, including education. They spend fewer years at school than boys, which means that the education level of women is substantially lower than that of men, which is already low. Also the fact that many schools do not have girls’ toilets discourages some girls from going to school. Their precarious life situation continues into adulthood: 60 % of married women have experienced violence at the hands of their husband or his relatives. Rape, dowry-related conflicts and forced or child marriages are far from rare.

The project in brief:

A total of 150 under-age girls from excluded ethnic minorities receive scholarships allowing them to attend secondary school.  The aim is to offer girls, who are often excluded from social life because of their gender and ethnic origin, a quality education which in turn will enable them to learn a trade. In addition, all schoolgirls attend workshops four times a month on the subject of human rights. There they learn about their own rights and how to obtain them in everyday life. This fosters the girls’ self-confidence and teaches them not to simply accept their situation as unchangeable, but to insist on respect for their rights.

However, in order to permanently improve the social status of women and girls, it is important to reach society in general. For this reason awareness workshops are offered, so as to draw the attention of as many people as possible (including teachers and parents) to the rights of girls.

Total project cost (2017-2020): €99 983

80% of this amount will be provided by the Luxembourg Foreign Ministry. The remaining 20% (€19 996,68) will be covered by CSI together with the partner organisation.

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