Celine van Till accompanied the Swiss NGO for six years as a member of its board of directors. On the spot, she sees the progress made by the association. Very well known for its demining activities, HI is working here on the topic of inclusive education, which ranges from teaching teachers to identify autism to understanding how to respond when a child has an epileptic seizure. Celine van Till takes notes at every meeting, asks questions and wears shorts when it comes to participating in sports activities with children. “I’m trying to connect with them.” With young Chelsea she creates a game, with little Treyvor she shares an anecdote, which the translator helps to convey her message in Portuguese.
The pandemic hit here less than anywhere else in a country with a young population. Except poor health. Henrichetta, an HI staff member on site, testifies, “Children who have not used their wheelchairs have difficulty getting back into them after months of inactivity.” And there are many, confirms Hilario, a visually impaired gym teacher and Paralympian. The condition of roads and sidewalks makes it impossible to use wheelchairs. Here we lack everything. The equipment he uses with the kids, balls or cones to mark out the field? It’s his, the school doesn’t have the budget for it. “Inclusion is playing sports by connecting children with disabilities with others and adapting practices.” Speech addressed to the Genevans. “We must avoid situations of exclusion.”