Support to Children Living with Disabilities Pays Off
Ennert Date, 14, is one of the visually impaired children from Mbire district, who benefitted from Save the Children’s Inclusive Education initiative, which provided braille equipment and learning materials for use at Mahuwe Primary School’s Resource Centre for visually impaired children.
Despite her disability, she was always top of her class and she had zeal and determination towards her school work. Her grade 5 teacher, Doesmatter Marota was confident that Ennert was going to excel in her Grade Seven public examinations.
“Ennert will pass her Grade Seven exams because she is committed despite her condition. She is gifted. She is doing well in English, Shona, Mathematics and General Paper. She is inspirational to us all as a school and as a community.” said Marota.
She completed primary school last year and as predicted by her teachers, she excelled in her Grade Seven public examinations with flying colours, making her one of the best performing students at her school.
Mr Rwambiwa, a Schools Inspector for Mbire district notes that the support from Save the Children laid a solid foundation for Ennert.
“We are thankful to Save the Children for providing Mahuwe Primary School Resource Centre with braille learning equipment. It is through this support that Ennert’s foundation lies. She managed to put to good use the learning equipment and this shows in her results. She attained 9 units and according to statistics we compiled, she is one of the best performing students in the district.''
“Not forgetting that last year’s learning calendar was affected by COVID-19 which led to the closure of schools for a longer period. However, it is quite impressive that despite these challenges, Ennert managed to produce excellent results.” said Rwambiwa.
Ennert is now in Form One at Mahuwe Secondary School and she is studying eight subjects. Mr Tembo, the school head explained that there are plans for her to move to a better school which has a well-established Resource Centre for visually impaired children.
“We are happy to have Ennert here. From the time she started her Form One, I have received great feedback from her teachers. Owing to her excellent results, she secured a place at Murewa Mission, one of the schools with a fully equipped Resource Centre for visually impaired children. This would be great for her learning experience as she will have all braille learning materials at her disposal compared to here were we have limited material.”
“Ennert is exceptional. Given resources, she can excel to her fullest potential. Even when holding a conversation with her, you can see that, she really thinks of what she says. We wish her all the best. With her brilliance, she can be anything she wants to be,” alluded Tembo.
Ennert is aiming for the stars
Save the Children first wrote about Ennert in 2018 when she was in grade 5 at Mahuwe Primary School. Four years later, she still exhibits the same determination to succeed.
“I am enjoying my school work especially History and English. I am working hard because I want to be a lawyer. I want to show the world that being visually impaired does not mean that you cannot succeed. Most people think that when someone is visually impaired, they are destined to be a beggar but that’s not true and I am going to prove them wrong.” said Ennert.
Save the Children's Inclusive Education Initiative
Save the Children’s inclusive education initiative covered eight districts of Zimbabwe including Mbire, Rushinga, Matobo, Beitbridge, Binga, Hwange, Gokwe North and Gokwe South.
It was implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe (LCDZ). The programme was funded by NORAD. Under the initiative, Save the Children through its partners conducted community sensitisation and mobilisations on the importance of inclusive education. These have helped children with disabilities to be enrolled in mainstream schools and attend lessons.
The initiative has also provided support to children living with disabilities through provision of assistive devices which include wheelchairs, spectacles, hearing aids, prosthetic legs and learning materials such as braille equipment, sound calculators and computers. Save the Children also availed materials for school infrastructure adaptations, including construction of access ramps and pathways, making doors wider for easy access by wheelchair users and construction of toilets that are disability friendly with toilet seats and supporting rails.