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Learning for all children

Across the world, children with disabilities are often the most marginalized group in schools and education. This exclusion is heightened in emergency and crisis settings where the barriers are amplified, leaving children with disabilities with limited access to support services. Here are six ways the IRC makes learning inclusive:

  • 1) Encourage parents to enroll children with disabilities in early education programs. Six-year-old Reem, who has autism, plays a clapping game with a volunteer from an IRC early childhood center in Azraq, Jordan, where she's made friends and learned to cope with the trauma of the Syria conflict. (Photo: Ahmad Al-Jarery for the IRC)

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  • 2) Read stories that represent children with disabilities and show them in a positive light. Doha, a girl from Syria, reads a Sesame Street book in an activity during a kindergarten class at the Fneish refugee camp in Lebanon. (Photo: Tara Todras-Whitehill for the IRC and Sesame Street)

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  • 3) Make learning spaces accessible, for example by adding ramps for wheelchairs. Teacher Ameena leads her kindergarten class for Syrian refugee children in an airy, colorful tent at the Fneish camp (Photo: Tara Todras-Whitehill for the IRC and Sesame Street)

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  • 4) Adapt activities so that children with different levels of mobility are able to participate. Abdul Baset, 8 years old, is in first grade and loves going to English classes. His family settled in Jordan in 2015 after the fighting in Syria forced them to leave their home. (Photo: Andrew Oberstadt for the IRC)

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  • 5) Train staff so they can provide inclusive play and learning environments. Nour, an assistant teacher, helps children wash their hands before snack time during a kindergarten class for young Syrian refugees at the Fneish camp (Photo: Tara Todras-Whitehill for the IRC and Sesame Street)

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  • 6) Promote positive attitudes about people with disabilities and challenge stereotypes. Jana, a 3-year-old Syrian girl who was born with Down's Syndrome, sits on her father's lap as they watch a video on a phone together at home in Azraq refugee camp. (Photo: Ahmad Al-Jarery for the IRC) Editor's note: All photos were taken prior to the the COVID-19 pandemic.

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