Rural Young Children with Disabilities: Education, Challenges, and Opportunities

Novuyo Nkomo, Adiele Dube, Donna Marucchi
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Abstract


The plight of young children with disabilities who live in rural communities remains unsolved issue in many developing countries. Culturally, many people have negative beliefs regarding the causes of disabilities. Disability may be associated with punishment by gods, ancestral spirits resulting from mother’s promiscuity during pregnancy, witchcraft, or evil spirits. This article focuses on challenges and opportunities of young children with disabilities who live in the rural communities of Eswatini and Zimbabwe, and related to accessing early childhood development (ECD) education services. Lessons drawn between the two countries reveal that in Eswatini, the Disability Unit which caters for disability issues is under the Social Welfare Department and is accommodated in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. In Zimbabwe, Chikwature, Oyedele and Ntini (2016) noted that an inclusive education policy is still yet to be drafted. Disability issues are still not fully represented constitutionally. Using the social exclusion theory enabled the researcher to determine how deeply rooted social exclusion is in the attitudes of teachers and rural communities. Using interviews and focus group discussions, 30 parents/caregivers for children with disabilities, aged 4 to 5 years, were purposively sampled for study. Results showed that the failure of these children to access ECD services in the community impacts negatively on their holistic development. Most children with disabilities who grow up in an environment and society characterized by negative attitudes and beliefs, and prejudice about disabilities are bound to imitate and perpetuate these attitudes, hence, intervention is critical. The study recommends that there should be unity of parents/caregivers, communities including schools and international forums, to garner much support to assist children with disabilities.

 


Keywords


Children with disabilities, Rural communities, ECD services, Social exclusion

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References


Nkomo, N., Dube, A., & Marucchi, D. (2020). Rural young children with disabilities: Education, challenges, and opportunities. International Journal on Studies in Education (IJonSE), 2(2), 134-145.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
 

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