INOVASI and CIS Timor help parents and schools better understand students with special needs

By: May Nggiri, grandmother of Marvel Ngili Ateng, a child living with a disability in Rindi village

In September 2018, INOVASI commenced 27 grant-funded pilots, with 18 new grant partners. This grants initiative is a key part of our approach to expanding and strengthening engagement with Indonesia’s non-governmental education sector. One of these grant partners is CIS Timor, working to strengthen school capacity and inclusive education in East Sumba, an INOVASI partner district in East Nusa Tenggara province. Working with nine schools in Rindi sub-district, the CIS program focuses on training in inclusive education, inclusive community involvement, and coalitions for change. In this story, we hear from May Nggiri, a grandmother from the East Sumba community.

I have cared for my grandson Marvel since he was a baby. He is now 10 and has always had a speech and hearing disability. We live in Rindi village, and I am so happy that we were able to join this CIS Timor pilot to learn more about parenting and learning for children with disabilities. This is very relevant for us.

For me, the biggest change I felt was that Marvel was now able to study at Prai Yawang primary school. Even though he is 10 years old and studies in the lower grades, he is still able to attend school and learn. Marvel used to be known as a naughty boy who likes to take things because he always thinks that everything is a game. Now however, he is more obedient and understanding. He has even helped me around the house.

People used to call him “kambiu” (mute). Everyday Marvel only played and walked around the housing complex. Because of his condition, he did not go to school like his other peers. His parents were doubtful about him going to school. The school was also sometimes unable to accept students like Marvel.

Since the CIS Timor pilot program began in schools and villages, it has opened up opportunities for Marvel to be able to enjoy education at school. Now schools and teachers are open to accepting children with special needs, and parents are given motivation and a good understanding of Marvel’s condition. Parents were also given an understanding on how to care for and support learning for Marvel.

Now, Marvel diligently goes to school. Marvel is ready every morning to go to school without being told. At school, the class teacher admitted that while Marvel is good at writing and drawing, he is unable to speak. This is the main reason for working with CIS Timor.

In order for Marvel to continue to go to school, he needs to learn to speak sign language correctly so that later he can continue his studies at a regular school.

INOVASI and CIS Timor help parents and schools better understand students with special needs