Makande primary school of Namulenga zone in Mulanje district is located in the traditional authority Nkanda. The school practices inclusive education and as such it enrolls learners with different kinds of impairments including those with physical. Although the school practices inclusive education, little does the infrastructure of the school responds to such. For instance, the school’s classrooms have no ramps and this poses mobility difficulties for the learners with physical disabilities. A good example is Daniel Mchala, a standard one learner at the school, who has a physical impairment and uses a wheelchair. He depends on his friends and teachers to carry him as well as the wheelchair into the classroom. However, with the coming of the Girls Get Equal-Nzotheka project to the school, things have taken a positive turn.
The project built the capacity of the SMC, PTA, and established a safe school committee whose main aim is to make the school environment safe and inclusive for each learner. When the safe school committee for the school underwent training notifying them of their roles from 16th to 17th of December, 2020, they conducted a safe school assessment using a checklist that was provided during the training. One of the major findings was that of lack of ramps for physically impaired learners including Daniel. They developed an action plan whose first action made was to build ramps for the classroom.
On the second of January 2021, the safe school committee in collaboration with the SMC and PTA executive embarked on an exercise of building a ramp for standard one of the classroom.
According to the chairperson of the committee, Mr. Rodrick Mulilima, who is the SMC representative, said, “It is just the beginning of the many actions made by the committee for making the school inclusive for every learner. The committee will work hand in hand with other school structures like SMC, PTA, MG in lobbying resources which will help on improving infrastructure and resources for inclusive education.” The ramp on one hand has been built with help from the school improvement grant (SIG) fund cement that was left during the previous SIG projects.
Other resources like sand, was a contribution of members of the two committees while the bricks were from those molded by the parents from the community. The headteacher Mr. Mark Daniel said that was a good development for the safe school committee and he will make sure that he works hand in hand with the committee in all their efforts of making the school safe and inclusive for all the learners. So far, the journey to an inclusive education environment has a mile to be attained, as the school has only two classrooms out of eight with ramps.