Update 2017: *Lily no longer attends the school she previously attended, due to their neglect and refusal to treat *Lily equally. Though she is sighted, she attends classes at Anjali School for the Blind, and has daily therapy and lessons from her foster mothers in speech and augmentative communication using an iPad app called Proloquo2Go, which is a programmable app that allows *Lily to customize her communication with others. She has a variety of choices from which to choose on this board, and she can build sentences, then press a button that reads what she has said aloud. It is helping to improve her independence greatly!
*Lily receives regular physical therapy and is walking (and running!) using a gait trainer. She’s so amazing! She now lives at Courage Home Purple, with her 2 co-foster mothers and 13 siblings. *Lily is available and listed for adoption! Read more here.
In America, education is so important to every child; however, in India, children with disabilities must fight and be advocated for in order to attend school. *Lily attends a special education program in a private school 3 days a week, does home school with her foster mothers and ayahs 3 days a week, and has Sunday off to rest. *Lily loves school! Know what’s amazing? This is the first time *Lily has been allowed to go to school.
Yes, you read that right – she is attending school for the first time in her entire life. While most children begin school in America at the age of 4 or 5, *Lily is 9 and is finally getting the opportunity to have what other children on the other side of the world have without worry. How can a child, who wants to learn and wants to go to school, be denied an education just because she lives with disabilities? There are many children who take school for granted, who wake up in the morning and do not want to go to school. Because where they live, they don’t have to think twice about whether or not they will get kicked out of school because of things they can’t control.
This happened to one of Carrie’s girls, *Paula. You can read the full story about this over at Carrie’s blog here.
Here’s the short version: *Paula has Cerebral Palsy (CP), which affects her mobility; she uses a wheelchair at home, but wasn’t allowed to bring it to school. Then, she was rejected from school recently after a short bout of sickness that every child experiences at one time or another. Education can be such a challenge for kids like *Paula, whose potential is not seen by the culture around her. It was discovered that *Paula was having some difficulty retaining the concepts she was learning at school, so home schooling actually turned out to be a better option for her at this time, but the issues she is having should not have been issues in the first place.
In America, *Paula would have an IEP that was tailored to her specific needs. However, *Paula lives in India, so her foster mom has to ensure she is getting the education she deserves, instead of having a network of people who are responsible for ensuring she is getting the proper education. Her mom now has to take on that role for her, even if she doesn’t know what will help. She must advocate for the things *Paula deserves, no matter how hard it is.
*Lily has CP as well, which affects her movement and speech, but it does not affect her intellectual ability. Her foster moms also fought to get her enrolled in school, to have her rejected from more than one, before finally enrolling her in a special education school where she is thriving. She works through her challenges and succeeds – and, she loves learning.
No child with a love for learning should ever be denied an education that is appropriate for their abilities and pushes them to succeed. *Lily deserves it, *Molly deserves it, *Nolan deserves it, *Cedar, *Dinah, *Jasmine, *Promise, *Leah, *Paula, *Stephanie, *Heidi, *Naomi… they all deserve appropriate education. So does every child at SCH!
Education is important, and is the foundation for success in so much of life. I have written about global education before, but I am writing about it again because I am passionate about at least basic education for everyone. I can’t wait for the day when basic education is a fundamental right for each and every child on this planet.