In order to reach visually impaired children in remote and inaccessible villages and to prepare them for main stream education, HEAD Nepal has started a Mobile Blind School. Because “if the child cannot go to school, THE SCHOOL SHOULD GO TO THE CHILD” (N. Krishna Swamy, Vidya Briksah India). This school will provide Braille literacy, confidence/communication, mobility/orientation, motor skills and daily living skills training by directly going to the child’s house in the villages.
Humla has 27 Village Development Committees (VDCs). The mobile blind school is working in 8 VDCs, especially in the upper part of Humla. In those 8 VDCs, HEAD Nepal has identified 2 blind and 23 partially sighted children aged 3 to 15 years. Most of the older children attend regular schools, but they face big difficulties, such as
to read text on the blackboard
to use textbooks
to integrate with their sighted peers
The totally blind teenagers do not go to school due to their disability (for case studies see appendix).
The teacher travels to the villages on foot or on horse back. If necessary, a horse is used to carry the equipments/materials which are required to conduct classes in the community such as Braille kids (slate, stylus, etc).
Mobile blind school units have been established in five villages serving 8 VDCs of Humla. It is the responsibility of the parents to take their children to these units for weekly classes. The mobile blind school ensures regular training. The units have currently between four and eight students. Classes take place once a week for four hours, the rest of the week the parents should practice with the children what they learned during classes. Therefore it is important to involve the parents of the visually impaired children and other family members as much as possible in the training process.
The community based training of the mobile blind school will be continuing for two years in 5 units for 8 Village Development Committees. Then the children will be integrated into the main stream education in regular schools. The service of the mobile blind school will take care of visually impaired children in other VDCs in Humla.