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Sightsavers Ireland are celebrating International Day of People with Disabilities (December 3) by launching a fantastic new educational website aimed at primary school children.
2020 has been a year in which existing inequalities faced by people with disabilities have only increased. Many of the news headlines from the past 12 months have been negative, but there’s also positive news in how Ireland is supporting and reaching those left furthest behind.
Over the last couple of years, Sightsavers Ireland have partnered with Irish Aid to engage the Irish public through a nationwide primary schools workshop programme called ‘Put Us in the Picture’. The workshops teach young students about the importance of sight, inclusion and the daily challenge of living with disability. The hugely popular schools programme also raises children’s awareness about the UN’s Global Goals (also known as the Sustainable Development Goals), which are crucial for the future of millions of people around the world.
This year, ongoing COVID-19 restrictions meant that the International charity had to adapt their workshops into an online format and December 3rd, the International Day of People with Disabilities, sees the launch of www.putusinthepicture.ie
Alison Bough, Communications & Public Engagement Manager with Sightsavers Ireland, says the past year has been particularly challenging for children:
“This past year has been challenging for everyone, but particularly for our young people. They have dealt with months of uncertainty and missed out on their school community, sports, and social activities for extended periods.
It’s believed that one third of children who do not attend school – 19 million – have a disability. Despite significant increases in school attendance over the past decade and efforts to reduce gender disparities, children with disabilities continue to be left behind, with girls more likely to miss school than boys. And when children are denied their right to education, they become trapped in a cycle of poverty and dependence.”
She believes that, because of the COVID-19 restrictions, many Irish children now have a greater understanding and empathy about what it means to not be able to attend school:
“Putusinthepicture.ie is an educational website that has been developed by Sightsavers Ireland, made possible with funding from Irish Aid. It’s aimed at children aged 7-13 and explores issues around international development, disability inclusion, and the Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, SDG 4: Quality Education, is a focus for us. The site emphasises empathy building and the importance of inclusion for all. I think many Irish children now know what it feels like to not attend school and understand that it’s really hard to be excluded from activities, learning and be isolated from their friends.”
Jennifer Flynn, Public Engagement Officer at Sightsavers Ireland, comments that the team are looking forward to delivering their in-school workshops again in the future, but have taken great pride in translating complex issues into an interactive website for children:
“We are all extremely proud to have created a website that covers complex global, economic and social issues in what we feel is a simple, inclusive manner that encourages learners throughout the process. Our hope is that students will take this journey with us and develop an understanding of the issues covered, while also having fun! Careful consideration has been given to ensuring that users of all abilities can gather knowledge and enjoyment from their experience of the website.”
Children (and adults!) take a virtual journey through the site, completing three animated movies that are partnered with five interactive activities. In order to unlock all five activities students must watch the three movies and answer some short quiz questions. Throughout the learning journey, users are rewarded with badges to mark their achievements. Upon completion, a downloadable certificate is available celebrating the fact that the user is now a ‘Disability Inclusion Champion’.
The website is optimised for use on tablets and desktops, while the animated movies, quizzes and certificate can be accessed on mobile.
Find out more at putusinthepicture.ie