Commonwealth secretariat |04 February 2022
Delegation from Human Rights Unit impressed with school visits
The delegation was headed by Dr Shavana Haythornwaite, head of the Human Rights Unit of the Commonwealth secretariat. She was accompanied by Dr Justin Pettit, Human Rights Adviser; Gary Rhoda, Human Rights Officer from the Commonwealth secretariat and Marco Gerry, director for Disabled under the Elderly and Disabled Division.
The delegation started their visit at the School for the Exceptional Child. Dr Haythornwaite expressed her satisfaction with what Seychelles has done so far for the disabled community.
“The visits were phenomenal. It is really fantastic to see the hard work of the teachers. It is obvious there is a need for these schools and we welcome all efforts to offer such platform for children with disabilities. We found positive elements in the schools – the curriculum is good and the assistance provided to the students is also good. I think one of the areas that needs to be improved upon is to add more facilities for children with disabilities and I know for a fact that the government of Seychelles is working really hard to deliver those facilities.”
Regarding the visit to the Plaisance secondary school Dr Haythornwaite noted that, after a meeting with the headteacher and the parent of a disabled child, “the teachers are doing all that they can to accommodate children with disabilities and the children are also embracing their new reality. If the students have access to more equipment and facilities, they will develop further. Again on this level, I know the government is also facilitating the process. There is appetite here where the government wants to work with the Commonwealth secretariat”.
Tany Samedi, who is currently in S3(1) at Plaisance secondary school, has vision problem and she was able to share with the delegation the issues she is facing.
“I do not have the proper equipment to follow all my lessons and my mum has to accompany me all the time. I want to be independent and be able to voice out more in class,” she told us.
Rachel Samedi, the mother of Tany, also spoke about the equipment missing. “She needs specific equipment and till now she does not have them. Her progression is good at school and I have always supported her as a parent. She started secondary school in S1(3) and now she is in S3(1). I will continue to support her and we have contacted a few organisations for help, but nothing so far.”
The delegation from the Commonwealth secretariat on Human Rights will engage in future discussions and possible partnerships with different ministries to strengthen the already existing plan for the disabled community and make sure disability is really incorporated in all aspects of the community.
The accompanying photos show some highlights of the team’s visits at the two schools.
Photos: Joena Meme/Contributed