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Disabled rural children unable to access education due to long distances – Norwegian students

CHILDREN living with disabilities in rural areas are not able to access education due to many factors such as long distances that they have to cover to reach school, lament three Norwegian Arctic University Occupational Therapy students.

In an interview, the three students, Monivia Abrahamsen, Gunhild Holen Eimmsellen and Veronika Godtliebsen, who have spent months in Muziya village, east of Zimba, said many people living with disabilities were not aware of the diagnosis of their disability.

“We faced a lot of challenges in Muziya such as poor roads which make it difficult for the people living with disability reach schools. We discovered that a lot of the children were not accessing education because of this and many problems. We also noted that many children were not being involved in activities that other bodied children do, thus many were initially shy to talk to us until after some therapy,” Abrahamsen said.

She added that she and her course-mates

worked with about 12 people living with disabilities, mainly children.

Abrahamsen said her team worked hard to put children living with disabilities on therapy to enable them be active in movements.

“We made sure that they were encouraged to attend school and also educated them and communities on disability issues. Many of the people living with disability were suffering from cerebral palsy, orthopaedic injuries and others were living with albinism,” she said.

Abrahamsen indicated that those living with albinism were encouraged to join the association of albinism.

“We also distributed suncream,” she said.

The Arctic University of Norway has been working in collaboration with Response Network an NGO working on Self-Help approaches and also the

Livingstone Central Hospital.

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