MACHINGA: Association of Early Childhood Development in Malawi (AECDM) has donated various equipment and assistive devices to some learners with physical disabilities in Community Based Childcare Centres (CBCCs) in the area of Paramount Chief Kawinga in Machinga.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Wednesday, AECDM Project Officer, Cecilia Kapalamula said the donation was part of the activities of a two year programme the organisation is implementing in the area.
Kapalamula said the main objective of the project was to attain smooth transition for children with different physical disabilities from CBCCs to primary schools.
There is no proper transition for children with disabilities from CBCCs to primary schools so, in this programme we are dealing with children aged between three and eight.
AECDM is encouraging community inclusive education so that even those children with disabilities should not be denied access to childcare centres, she said.
Kapalamula said the donation which includes wheel chairs, sunscreen lotion and corner sit chairs among others will help ease challenges most children face which hinders their active participation in various activities at CBCCs.
According to statistics, in 2016 there were 12 children with disabilities in CBCCs in the area of Paramount Chief Kawinga but as of 2018 the number has grown to 100 children in the CBCCs now, which we consider as positive development, she pointed out.
She observed that some parents were not comfortable to take their children to public places like CBCCs, a perception which has changed through the project which sensitised communities and traditional leaders on the importance of sending children with disabilities to such facilities.
Kapalamula attributed the rise in enrollment of children with disabilities in the childcare centres in the area as a result of formulation of bylaws by traditional leaders during sensitization meetings conducted under the intervention.
Some parents have also been motivated to bring their children to the centres because we are donating various assistive devices which are crucial to the growth of their children with physically challenges, she added.
Kapalamula attributed the success of the project to coordination between AECDM and Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA).
MACOHA Senior Rehabilitation Assistant, Wisdom Mseteka said the major challenge in the area was that most parents were not free to come out with their children with physically disabilities to public places like CBCCS, adding that the project has managed to change such perceptions.
Mseteka emphasized that allowing children with disabilities to patronize CBCCs could help Increase their capability to socialize and learn alongside their counterparts which remains cardinal for any child with a disability of some kind.
In his remarks, Group Village Headman Kachaka said the donation had come at the right time, noting that it would lessen challenges most learners with physical disabilities face at childcare centres in his area.
AECDM is working in Machinga and Mangochi with funding from Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA