Learning Better Together with trust, love and patience
Oksana is committed to ensure children with disabilities living in the orphanage come to the school
Oksana Waise has worked for her community for over 20 years. During the last 16 years, she has worked in Sosnovka School, in Chuy region, around a 90-minute drive from Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Oksana is a mother of two children and grandmother of little Ilina, who was born two weeks ago.
As Deputy Principal of the school, Oksana oversees the education of 1,610 children, ranging from pre-school to grade 11 and she is fully engaged on ensuring every child has access to education. Her devotion to her community goes beyond her current position. Before working in the school, Oksana worked with children with disabilities living in the Sosnovka Orphanage, and she has continues being in touch with this center.
Now, Sosnovka School is one of the pilot schools of the “Learning Better Together” programme of the Ministry of Education and Science, supported by UNICEF through the generous investment of USAID. Within this programme, 24 teachers at the school are being trained to place inclusive education at the core of the functioning of the school. Through this programme, children with disabilities are included in mainstream education and have the opportunity to learn with other children, ending years of segregation that kept them apart from other children.
Oksana is committed to ensure children with disabilities living in the orphanage come to the school. Currently, 4 teachers go to the orphanage regularly to with the goal of preparing the children for regular classes in the near future, once the school infrastructure, currently being refurbished, is finalized for this purpose. In addition, Oksana and her team have identified a number of children with disabilities in their community that are being kept at home by their parents and they are working towards including these children in school too. She and her team believe that this is possible if there are trust, love and patience in families and communities.
“We need to work closely with parents to ensure all that is needed to educate their children, instead of keeping them at home. We need to make everything possible for children with disabilities to feel comfortable in school and in society. It is important to learn together, and our children are ready to do this, hand in hand.”
Oksana expresses her hope on how this programme can make a difference in the lives of children and bring to life the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that was ratified in the Kyrgyz Republic in June 2019: “We need to work closely with parents to ensure all that is needed to educate their children, instead of keeping them at home. We need to make everything possible for children with disabilities to feel comfortable in school and in society. It is important to learn together, and our children are ready to do this, hand in hand.” Thanks to “Learning Better Together”, teachers are trained on understanding the benefits of inclusive education, and to make sure that no child is left behind when it comes to learning.
At the moment, one classroom has already been fitted with a wider door and adapted desks, and the school is ready to welcome the first children with disabilities in the coming month.