Ntchanchwe Delphine is a student with mobility impairment in the Higher Institute of Management and Commerce of the University of Bamenda (UBa) who has gone through terrible experiences studying in the institution since two years ago. She has not been able to attend classes because of the inaccessible nature of the structures in the University, which are without ramps. This has left her with sad memories.
Ntchanchwe Delphine recounts days that she went to school but was not able to attend classes when lectures were held in buildings where she could not access. Worst still, the attitude of some lecturers and non-teaching staff is appalling; they do not border about her challenges even when she explains to them. Like Delphine, other students with impairments have shared similar stories.
It is against this backdrop that the CBC Health Services through its Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SEEPD) program in its goal to promote inclusive education, signed a partnership with the University of Bamenda early this year to foster inclusion. According to the MoU, the CBC Health Services has amongst other responsibilities to train staff of the University on inclusion to change attitude.
To match words with action, the SEEPD program organized a 3-day workshop from October 7- 9, 2020 on Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) for non-teaching staff and some students of the University. The objective was to build their capacities on CBID to enable them mainstream it in their different areas of work. The workshop took place at the NW Regional Delegation of Secondary Education.
For three days, the SEEPD project staff took participants through the different disability concepts, legislation, and inclusion amongst others. After the presentations, the participants could identify the negative consequences of their attitudes towards students with disabilities. This was addressed in their action plans and the different strategies to be put in place to facilitate inclusion in the school.
Speaking to the Head of Division, Administration, Achives, and Museum at the Central Library of UBa, Nchang Oliver regretted that the buildings of the school have not been friendly for students with disabilities as well as other services delivered to them in the school like online registration, which is not inclusive. The workshop, he noted, is an eye-opener to them given that it will spur them to write the wrongs right. Being one of the participants, he has drawn a long list of action plan which he is optimistic to implement with positive outcomes.
At the end of the workshop, the SEEPD Education Advisor, Mrs. Fobuzie Bridget noted with excitement that the participants have demonstrated that they have acquired knowledge. She is expectant that they will foster inclusion in their different areas of work given that the Program is ready to always support them promote inclusion at all levels.