ChildFund’s projects help children with disability
Sonepet has never let her disability get in the way of trying new things.
So when ChildFund’s Learning Beyond Blackboards project was introduced at her school in Laos, and opened up more opportunities for children to expand their minds and learning capabilities, Sonepet was eager to participate.
“I like all the activities I get to do in the project,” the 15-year-old says. “They help me stay active and give me a chance to do something creative.”
The project is helping schools in Laos to strengthen their physical education and arts curriculums, which are often overlooked by busy teachers who don’t have the experience or the resources to teach them. Below we discuss how the project is helping teachers provide more valuable and inclusive curriculums for their students.
New classes teach children how to be fit and creative
As part of the project, teachers have been conducting lessons such as volleyball, drawing and painting alongside maths and literacy classes.
One of Sonepet’s teachers Thongsai says she has noticed her students have been more motivated at school since taking part in a wider variety of classes.
“Since Learning Beyond Blackboards came to our school, the students have been coming to class more regularly and they have greater unity,” she says.
“They’re more supportive of each other than they used to be in the past.”
For Sonepet, the Learning Beyond Blackboards activities have helped her develop her creative skills.
“I’ve learned to paint animals, fruit, and all kinds of things more beautifully than before,” she says.
“It also helps me stay healthy because we play so many sports.”
Her favourite activity?
“Singing,” she says. “When you’re singing, you have to move your body along with the rhythm. You just start dancing along, and that’s its own kind of exercise.”
Defying stereotypes with physical and creative activity
Participating in all the physical and creative activities has allowed Sonepet to defy some stereotypes.
She was born with a stunted right hand, but it has not stopped her from having fun and participating confidently in all her classes. “Even though I have a disability, it doesn’t mean I can’t participate in the Learning Beyond Blackboards activities,” Sonepet says.
Teachers are seeing their students’ talent shine through
Thongsai has been impressed by how the new curriculum has allowed her students’ abilities to shine. “This project made me realise that my students are more talented than I ever realised,” she says. “Some of them are so creative they can take the lessons I teach and expand from them to create all kinds of new paintings on all different subjects.”
While literacy and numeracy are important, they do not always foster the kind of enthusiasm and confidence that students such as Sonepet have shown from participating in arts and physical education lessons that have diversified their education.
A more educated world is a great thing to hope for, but a one that is also kinder, healthier, and more creative is even better.
The Learning Beyond Blackboards project was supported by the Australian Government through the ANCP program.
Sponsor a community in Laos to give children a brighter future
If you want to help children like Sonepet reach their potential, becoming a community sponsor is a powerful way to help children in Laos.
Your sponsorship will help create child friendly schools in developing communities, help provide vocational training for out of school youth, among other community development projects across South East Asia.
You can also donate an education-focused charity gift to help a child in the countries where we work get ahead in life. Fight gender inequality by funding a girl’s education, buy school supplies for a child in need and more. We offer many ways for you to give, because every child deserves a childhood.