Omafo school offers education to children with disabilities

Home National Omafo school offers education to children with disabilities
Omafo school offers education to children with disabilities

OSHAKATI – The Omafo Private School in Helao Nafidi town, Ohangwena region, has made it its mission to offer special education to learners with disabilities.

The private school is now among the only three schools in the northern part of the country that offer educational classes to learners with different disabilities.

Previously, only Eluwa Special School in Ongwediva and Usko Nghaamwa Special School in Eehnana accommodated children with special needs.

According to school principal Grace Shapwa, the idea came about last year – and the school applied and registered this year to offer the special classes.

“We were granted permission this year to offer special classes to children living with different intellectual disabilities,” said Shapwa.

She maintained that the first enrolment had children with different disabilities, such as speech impairment, autism, attention-deficit disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, hyperactivity disorder and children with neurological problems.

Shapwa said the school has two classrooms for the 13 special learners, but plans are underway to open a centre next year because of the high demand from parents wanting to register their children.

“We have plans of opening a centre next year because we cannot have these children crowded in classrooms because they need special treatment. We have a lot of children with disabilities who are being hidden. But now that parents have heard about us, they want to bring their children so they can receive the right education,” she explained.

Shapwa highlighted that parents contribute a monthly fee of N$500, some of which goes towards educational aids, as learners must do a lot of hands-on activities to stimulate their abilities and skills.

The school has two teachers and two assistants catering to the children in the beginner and junior phases.

Teacher Leticia Handiya explained that teaching her learners requires a lot of patience, love and care.

“Every child is different, so you need to treat them differently and cater to their different intellectual needs,” said Handiya.

She further said children need help from specialists, who check and monitor the learning environment, development and progress. These include speech therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists and those who understand how to help children with special needs children.

“We are also urging the public to help us with anything – be it learning materials to run this special unit. The monthly fee we ask from parents is not enough to cater to all the needs of the child,” she said.