It was uncomfortably cool and windy in front of the Reichstag building in Berlin, when early in the morning of 7 May around one hundred children and adults met for the opening event of the action week of the Global Campaign for Education for the right to education for disabled persons. Despite the weather the mood was good among pupils, representatives of the Global Campaign member organisations and the attending members of the Bundestag.
The rapper Graf Fidi, this year’s ambassador of the Global Campaign for Education, who presented his song “Weltklasse! all inclusive” together with pupils of the Berlin Sophie-Scholl school, made a great contribution to this good spirit. The title of the song is also motto of the Action Weeks 2014. “People with disabilities, like everybody else, want to accomplish something rather than live on charity”, rapped Graf Fidi and demanded “Education has to be barrier-free at last!”
Only one in ten children with disabilities in developing countries go to school
With the help of wheelchairs, cataract glasses, ear protection, canes and walking aids the participants were able to experience the difficulties disabled people have to cope with in everyday life. Members of the Bundestag from CDU, SPD, Grüne and Linkspartei responded to the pupils’ questions about the importance of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Right to Education for all and assured them of their support.
Sandra Dworack, speaker of the Global Campaign for Education in Germany, pointed out that in the countries of the South only one in ten children with disabilities attend school regularly and demanded that German development policy must focus in a better and stronger way on inclusive education for persons with disabilities. At the end of the action the pupils and members of the Bundestag symbolically brought a wall of obstacles like prejudices, fears, lack of money or political will to collapse, a wall that impedes disabled persons’ equal participation in life.
Pupils can take action
The GEW, founding member of the Global Education Campaign in Germany, participates regularly in the annual Weltklasse Action Weeks on the human right to Education for All. This year’s action weeks take place in around 100 countries and end on 29 June 2014. The Global Campaign for Education provides free posters, flyers and teaching material. It includes stories, examples from different countries and exercises on the issue of “inclusive education for disabled persons” in school. Pupils can take action by sending creative messages to politicians, requesting them to support the rights of persons with disabilities.
“A successful event” GEW President Marlis commented on the Weltklasse opening in front of the Reichstag. “Germany can and must do more in order to help poor countries to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, the GEW President demands. “Inclusive education should become a regular feature of the official German development cooperation.