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Zimbabwe’s Perseverance Hadebe Is Empowering Children With Special Needs Through Education

Often times, children with special needs are not given the attention they need to be able to compete favourably with their counterparts who do not have special needs. This gap is being filled in King George VI, a school in Bulawayo headed by the dynamic Perseverance Hadebe. The school provides sterling education for learners and children in Zimbabwe with disabilities from kindergarten to the fourth form.

Hadebe is a Zimbabwean headmistress and a trained teacher with decades of experience. She is also a clergywoman, working as a pastor at the Apostolic Church Of Pentecost, one of the first pentecostal churches in Zimbabwe.

Hadebe’s sojourn into special education did not happen by accident. She always has wantedto work with kids who need special care and a learning environment geared towards their needs. While doing her teacher training, she requested to be posted to Sir Humphrey Gibbs, a local special school. According to her, this was because she finds special needs learners inspiring.

“It is so satisfying to see someone who at face value seems incapable of so many things and watch them grow from strength to strength and exceed all expectations. I have always been drawn to the downtrodden, the unwanted and the unloved,” she said in an interview with SheLeadsaAfrica

For her, the task is not a difficult one. This is because she does not view the pupils as being disadvantaged but as “complete”. Respect, love and appreciation go a long in making those kids come out of their shell and interact like their counterparts.

“We must look at them as equals and not assume we know better than them how things ought to be done,” she said.

Some of her pupils. Picture: SheLeadsAfrica

The desire to reach as much special needs children as possible underpins the open-door, all-inclusive policy of King George VI. The school has on its roster the physically challenged, deaf and non-disabled, with most of our non-disabled being vulnerable learners. Most of them have sad backgrounds and we feel they fit in extremely well here as the ethos of the school is one of respect and acceptance.

Even in the face of poor funding and limited resources, the children are given as much opportunity as possible to partake in a variety of activities like drama and [ublic speaking. Their confidence and belief in themselves is never killed or downplayed.

Like her name, we hope Perseverance perseveres and keeps contributing her qouta to making these children able and contributing members of the society.

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