Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sure Prospects

Located in between Kampala and Entebbe, Sure Prospects Institute is the only school in Uganda which integrates mental and physically disabled students and those without.  There are nearly 500 students attending this primary school with a 3:1 ratio of children without and those with a disability.  Francis, the headmaster and person who started this school, gave us a brief description when we arrived about how he started the program, emphasizing the importance of everyone being treated equally.  He gave the example that even though ones legs may not work, they can be very smart, and even though someone may have an intellectual disability that hinders their learning, their legs are perfectly fine for running! I loved this description and the fact that Francis is trying to change the mindset of the younger generation to be more accepting of those who are different from us.
Best Buddies is a nonprofit international organization that, with the help of volunteers, provides the opportunity for one-on-one friendships, employment opportunities and leadership development for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They have programs in middle and high schools as well as colleges with job and ambassador programs.  This entire school, in my eyes, can already be considered a chapter of Best Buddies.  Even though Sure Prospects is a school for those until they are a P6 or until they are 12 years old, Francis has started an additional program that allows those with disabilities to learn vocational training, computer skills, and other trade skills.  He is truly dedicated to the lives of these children in making sure they will be successful in their life and to meet whatever needs they may have.  Even though some of the children attending this school may not have the ability to graduate from a university for further education, with the help of this afternoon program for older children, they are able to invest their skills in a trade.
What Francis has done for these children, what he is dedicating his life towards, is quite amazing.  He is using Sure Prospects as a way to try and change the social sigma that those with special needs are not able to function in the world.  Starting with the children in kindergarten and putting this idea in their minds early will slowly help to change the views of everyone.  I loved spending the entire day with these children, playing games such as jump rope, chalk, bubbles, and Red Rover.  It was amazing to see what Francis has done and how his school has grown since he opened it.
For my fellow Drake students...how do you think Sure Prospects can evolve?  Should the current school system be changed from separating those with disabilities to integrating them like Francis' school?  How does government money play a role in schooling; should they integrate the schools even though that means spending more money?

3 comments:

  1. Taylor, In my opinion, a model such as Sure Prospects' could only work in the US currently in private school settings. Because Francis' disabled students' fees are paid by the able students, it seems that it would be most effective to replicate this model in a private school setting where families pay fees directly to the schools. That being said, I think it would be great if we had a system like this in the US that is so integrative!
    Carly Riemensnider

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  2. Sure Prospects is one of my favorite visits each year. Francis has become a great friend over the years and I am constantly amazed at what he continues to accomplish! It was great to see the kitchen in use and to share in a meal of beans and rice cooked in the new kitchen. Sitting back and watching the beautiful interaction among the Drake, MUBS and Sure Prospects students made my day!

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  3. Taylor, After seeing how Sure Prospects runs their school I think it is well worth the extra money to integrate the mentally and physically disabled students into schools in the U.S. It would make the students use to interacting with people who have disabilities and the disabled students would feel more included. I think this form of teaching helps us to better understand those with disabilities and to give those with disabilities the confidence that they can further their education. I also loved spending the day with all these amazing children!
    Jena Stallsmith

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