Submission Story |
Last fall I had the privilege of traveling to the town of Asella in Ethiopia where I met Salem and one of her friends, Hiwot. Hiwot is 17 years old and has spent her whole life at home. Her whole life except for last year, that is. Last year her life changed when she was given the opportunity to be part of a classroom especially designed for six students with multiple complex disabilities. Now she plays with Salem at recess, who enjoys spending time with her, "because of her special talent drawing with her feet."
Hiwot's class is part of an elementary school called Horizons Academy where 450 other students are receiving a quality education while also taking full advantage of being able to spend time with children like Hiwot in the 'Special Needs Classroom' at recess and lunchtime. This is completely counter-cultural. Because in Ethiopia, people with disabilities are typically marginalized, misunderstood and drastically undervalued.
Research tells us that 80% of people with a disability live in the developing world and that 90% of children with a disability don't have access to education. Christian Horizons is working to change that. Internationally, that looks like partnering with donors and local community groups to build, supply, and staff inclusive classrooms like this one in Asella, Ethiopia. Not only are children with and without disabilities receiving education for the first time, they're beating the odds and reshaping how their community views people with disabilities.
All 4 winning charities will be announced on our 108th Birthday, May 10th 2018!