Reducing Barriers to Inclusive Education

Two women and ten men stand in a group. Several of them have physical disabilities and use equipment such as a scooter, cane, and crutches.
  • The Accomplishment

  • What Worked

  • About the Author

During my years as a student at the University of Sierra Leone, I had to pay fees even though I was legally not supposed to. I missed most of the lectures that were held in multistory buildings because there were no ramps. I had no access to the library or internet café because they were not disabled friendly. Studying then was very difficult since I didn’t have the resources to enable me to do very well.

In 2013, I had the opportunity to travel to the United States on an exchange program hosted by Mobility International USA to meet other disabled women from different countries and visit accessible sites, including schools that were disability friendly. I had a strong conviction within me that I should work with the university administration to reduce some of the challenges faced by disabled students in accessing education. It was through the exchange program that I gained the knowledge and confidence to develop the Reducing Barriers to Inclusive Education project. I returned home with great expectation to work with partner institutions to implement this project, but it was not as easy as I thought. My goal was to set up a disability desk on the Fourah Bay College campus, which is one of the University of Sierra Leone’s three campuses, and to have a body that represents and advocates for the educational rights of the students with disabilities.