Padziwe: Supporting Home Schooling for Learners with Disabilities

Involved alumni:

The challenge that the project addresses

COVID-19 has forced all schools in Malawi to shut down and learners to stay home for an unspecified time, experts say it could be months if not years before schools open again. Home schooling is strongly being encouraged and supported, but this initiative is not an inclusive one. There is exclusion of learners with disabilities:(a) by radio and television home schooling content which is not accessible to learners with hearing impairment, visual impairment and other forms of impairments that create learning barriers (b) by parents and guardians who have no basic knowledge to support home schooling for learners with deafness, blindness, autism and other forms of impairments that create learning difficulties.

What is your project doing to respond to this challenge?

I am using my advocacy project known as Padziwe which was inaugurated in 2014 to come up with home schooling strategies that are inclusive for learners with disabilities by (a) engaging University of Malawi’s Chancellor College radio and television stations to produce Home Schooling content that is accessible to all learners. This activity also involves recruiting sign language interpreters who co-produce the content (b) providing basic information and training to parents and guardians on how they can support learners with disabilities such as deafness, blindness and autism in communities across Malawi as a part of COVID-19 awareness campaign. This activity involves collaborating with organisations such as Malawi Red Cross Society who are already visiting homes for COVID-19 support to distribute simplified and explained Malawi Sign Language Alphabet and Home Schooling booklets that are in local languages.

Describe the project's impact

  • To include all learners regardless of disabilities for Home Schooling during the COVID-19.
  • To empower parents and guardians to have Home Schooling basic knowledge for supporting their children with disabilities.