CAMBODIA: Don Bosco Kep Student Receives New Orthopedic Feet to Help Him Walk and Continue in School
(MissionNewswire) Thanks to donors and the support of the nonprofit organization Together for Cambodia, Savon, a student from Don Bosco Technical School Kep/Hatrans (Don Bosco Kep) who was born without feet, was able to go to Thailand and receive the special orthopedic feet he needs. The new feet allow him to walk and continue in school. The Sawasdee Foundation is also helping Savon during his time studying at Don Bosco Kep.
Don Bosco Kep has been working to make changes to the school’s buildings and dormitories to ensure they are accessible for students with physical disabilities like Savon, thanks to a grant awarded in January 2015, from the Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), The school has also received funding to aid this construction from Don Bosco Bonn and the Sawasdee Foundation.
Don Bosco Kep began welcoming students with disabilities in 2013, and the new construction is allowing more of the school campus to be accessible for students with disabilities, so that they don’t have to rely on friends for assistance. It creates a more inclusive experience for students with disabilities. With the USAID funding, Don Bosco Kep has been making modifications including the installation of elevators in the main buildings, the construction of ramps to access areas for community gatherings and the creation of a students’ and teachers’ residence with all of the modifications that will allow those with physical disabilities to live and attend school independently. The funding is also supporting creating fully accessible bathrooms and the purchase of equipment to aid the learning environment for youth with disabilities.
For children with disabilities living in Cambodia, access to education is limited and the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty is almost nonexistent. UNICEF notes in its State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities report that globally, close to 61 percent of boys finish school but for boys with disabilities that number drops to 51 percent. For girls, 53 percent finish school but among those living with a disability, only 42 percent finish their education.
The UNICEF report also notes that studies across countries show a strong link between poverty and disability, which in turn is linked to gender, health and employment issues. The report further suggests that inclusion in mainstream schools and educational settings is usually most appropriate for children with disabilities and when teachers and personnel are trained to consider disability-related issues, they look upon inclusion of children with disabilities more positively.
“Children living in poverty with a disability are even less likely to attend school when compared to their peers,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Youth with disabilities have the same ability to achieve as their peers, if given the opportunity. Don Bosco Kep is working to make sure that all students like Savon have access to the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives and contribute to the social, cultural and economic vitality of their communities.”
Don Bosco Kep provides basic, secondary and technical education to poor youth living in the Cambodian provinces of Kep, Kampot, Takeo, Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri. The school’s educational and social development programs help students break the cycle of poverty and become contributing members of their communities. Don Bosco Kep provides special attention to children and young people from ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, orphans and at-risk youth in danger of becoming victims of human trafficking, labor exploitation or other abuses.
UNICEF – Cambodia