Inclusion is part of a much larger picture than just the placement in the regular class within school. It is being included in life and participating in day to day activities as a member of the community using one’s abilities. The inclusion process must incorporate fundamental change in the way a community supports and addresses the individual needs of each child.
Having a child with disability in the family affects every family member, including the siblings. Very often these siblings have to take on huge responsibilities and take care of the child with disability, despite their own age. This leads to different reactions e.g. feeling neglected, embarrassed, sad, stressed etc. They are often confronted with high expectations from the parents.
Siblings of children with disabilities need a place to vent their feelings and help them cope with the family situation. Siblings of children with disabilities are often in the shadow since most of attention goes to their sibling with a disability. Due to the many responsibilities of taking care of their brothers/sisters living with disability, they rarely get a chance to express themselves. They may also face stigma in school and in the community.
Since 2016, SEP organizes sibling workshops in partnership with Sarakasi Trust with the aim of creating a platform for the siblings to learn about their sibling with disability, share experiences, talk about their feelings, their worries and their fears, and have fun with their peers. The Sarakasi team do what they do best: they make use of different games, songs, puppet shows and plays, with the aim to create more awareness and help the children to understand the condition of their sibling with a disability. SEP professionals explain in simple terms different disability conditions to the children and have counselling sessions with the teenager group.
The workshops end with a performance for the parents and members of the community creating awareness on the challenges siblings of children with disabilities face.
The sibling workshops have proven to be beneficial for the siblings. They understand disabilities and causes, and have been empowered. They know they are not alone in this situation and have been given a chance to express their feelings in a safe environment. The message reached their parents for who the performance is an eye opener.
The sibling workshops are scheduled 2-3 times a year during the school holidays. Siblings are divided in three age groups and experience different activities. So far 748 siblings have attended the workshops.
For further information on this project, or if you would like to support this project further kindly contact the SEP office on Tel. 0733267869 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com