People are doing miracles, not things!

Happy students at the primary school Cavanga2 No. 117 – Photo by Michaela Samiecová

In the beginning of the day on Thursday, we visited a school in Angola called Cavanga 2 No. 117. It is a primary school located in Kuito, the capital of Bié province. The school has about 600 students and they study in classes from preschool to sixth grade.

UNICEF is conducting a project to improve access to school and quality of education and supporting the construction of the water system because the main problem for Cavanga school is sanitation facilities. The children prepared an amazing programme for us: theatre and tree planting. When we planted trees, I felt deep inside my heart that one day I must come back. I hope that as the trees grow so will these young people for a better future for their country.

Then we continued to an early childhood centre, which consisted of crèches, preschool education centres, as well as children’s homes, where there are many children without families. We observed that these children lack contact with parents. They still welcomed us, and we could see that they were really glad we were there. But for us it was a rather sad experience when we saw how many children will grow up without parents.

Small boy from the early childhood centre. He believes in peace? – Photo by Michaela Samiecová
Small boy from the early childhood centre. He believes in peace? – Photo by Michaela Samiecová

At the end of the day, we visited a special education school. I studied special needs education, so I was looking forward to this visit from the first day in Angola. Children with some kind of disabilities are at high risk of social exclusion. In Angola, people still believe that disability has a religious character, so parents often keep their children away from society. Local communities have deep-rooted habits, so changing the thinking of children isn´t the hardest work but changing the views of parents about their child’s specific needs is much more complicated. Girls with disabilities especially have a problem with education. Almost half of females with disabilities have never been to school.

The school consists of classes for a group of students with specific disabilities. The first classroom we visited was for children with hearing impairments. Young people with a zest for life. Part of the lesson was to teach us a few words in Angolan sign language, so the idea of sad children without the possibility of education was quickly gone. In the other two classes were children with visual impairments and children with mild learning difficulties. At the end of visit, local teachers ask for advice. I could not believe it. They are hardworking with love for their job, and they really care about the future of children.

Girl writing on Pitch´s machine, a machine for using Braille. – Photo by Michaela Samiecová
Girl writing on Pitch´s machine, a machine for using Braille. – Photo by Michaela Samiecová

The children in this special education school don’t have crutches, white canes, tactile maps or wheelchair lifts, but they have perfect teachers around who know how to make miracles. For me, they are heroes!