A joint event by Lumos and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) on deinstitutionalisation and inclusive education for children earlier this month at the European Development Days (EDD) was a great success.
As part of the 2015 European Year for Development (EYD), the EDD brought together over 5000 European and international policy makers, national government representatives and civil society groups working in the field of development. It was an excellent opportunity to share ideas and discuss best practice.
Lumos and IDDC seized this opportunity to raise the need to turn deinstitutionalisation of children, and with that inclusive education, into a global development priority. During the interesting discussion reasons for exclusion and how to tackle them were discussed.
Speakers Irina Malanciuc, Country Director of Lumos Moldova, and Mathew Kawogo, Country Director of ADD International Tanzania, shared interesting and thought-provoking perspectives from their own countries.
“Convincing the government and changing people’s attitudes were key ingredients to the deinstitutionalisation success in Moldova”, said Irina Malanciuc. The need for attitude change was confirmed by Mathew Kawogo, who said: “A change of mind set of parents and community is critical for inclusion”, he said, stressing the importance of inclusive education and the need to work with Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs).
Video messages from a group of self-advocates from Moldova were shown. The children and young people, some of whom used to live in institutions, asked the audience to share their thoughts on what it is like to live in an institution and what can be done to ensure that children can live with their families. The responses from the audience were videotaped in order to feed back to the self-advocates. An engaged audience was very impressed with the determination and passion of the children and encouraged them to continue to speak up and make sure their voices are heard, not only by the people at the conference but also by policy makers and other children at home and worldwide.
The full session can be listened to here.