By Jane Watson
ZIMBABWE has close to 1.4 million people living with disabilities, many of these being children. Like many disabled children across the world, those living in Zimbabwe rarely attend school.
This can happen for a variety of reasons, one of the most prominent being that there is a shortage of suitable schools and facilities to cater for their unique and special needs.
By increasing the efforts to augment accessibility for people living with disabilities in terms of public transportation and school facilities, more children will be able to attend school.
Lack of Proper Public Transportation
As it stands right now, the Zimbabwe public transport system is not safe and accessible to people with disabilities and this is cutting off a vital link that parents and children need in order for them to easily and adequately access thing such as employment, education, healthcare and more.
All buses should be constructed with wheelchair ramps that can lower to allow people with limited mobility to get onto the bus. Furthermore, all drivers that drive buses with wheelchair ramps should be trained on how to provide guidance to wheelchair users in order to allow them to travel safely.
Once anybody and everybody can access public transportation in order to make it to their job or school on time, then communities can begin constructing the schools in a way that incorporates accessibility.
Accessibility Within Schools
Just as there are innovations in home design that can increase mobility, there are similar innovations that can improve a child’s ability to access their school facilities.
Where special facilities and renovations cannot be undertaken so that disabled students can gain access to school buildings, classrooms and other physical amenities, certain practical changes can be made.
Schools can make an effort to arrange classrooms in a way that promotes open walking spaces, widen the doors to allow for children with wheelchairs to pass through, an even install temporary ramps to ensure everybody can make it through the front door to learn.
The Future of Accessibility in Zimbabwe
Every child deserves the right to learn, and children living with disabilities are no different. By increasing efforts and money put towards improving public transportation, families and children will be able to get to school without trouble.
By incorporating design techniques that increase accessibility within schools, these institutions can ensure that any child, regardless of their ability, feels comfortable being in the space in order to learn the material they need to learn.