Record numbers of pupils taught about living with a disability

Jewish Blind and Disabled charity runs a pioneering schools’ programme


Jewish Blind and Disabled schools' programme being delivered by JBD tenant Diana Young (Photo: Jewish Blind & Disabled)

The schools’ programme run by the Jewish Blind and Disabled charity (JBD) is having its biggest year to date.

It has already surpassed previous records for the number of students the scheme has reached, delivering sessions to over 1,600 students since the start of the academic year.

Aimed at three to 18-year-olds, the programme is delivered by JBD tenant ambassadors, who teach students about life with a disability and the importance of aids and adaptations.

There are eight tenant ambassadors who use their lived experience of having various disabilities, including vision impairment, Parkinson’s and mobility challenges, to teach young people.

The charity’s chief executive, Lisa Wimborne, said: “We believe we have a role to play in helping educate young people to ensure they see people beyond their disability. We know that, in turn, education will change attitudes.”

Ambassadors bring along aids such as grabbers — cups that cannot overflow — and even a bionic hand, which students can experiment with as they are encouraged to contribute to the sessions.

Some schools want JBD to focus on a certain disability if it is shared by a child in the school, and ambassadors can adapt the sessions to different schools’ needs.

“Our young people are future town planners, architects, policy and decision makers. It is so important they understand disability and the responsibility we all have in creating an inclusive and accessible country,” the CEO said.

The impact doesn’t end when JBD leaves as the charity distributes activity books to help younger students continue the conversation at home.

Tenant ambassadors have spoken about the fulfilment they get from delivering the sessions. One ambassador, Neil, said: “When I explain about what it’s like to have disabilities, and that some people have disabilities you can’t see, I think it really opens their eyes.”

Dena Shmuel, interim headteacher at Sacks Morasha Jewish Primary School in north London, said: “It was great to hear directly from the perspective of a person living with a disability. Our children loved seeing different equipment that helps improve their day-to-day life, including a very unique robotic arm.”

JBD provides specially adapted mobility apartments located in seven supportive developments for Jewish adults who have a physical disability and/or vision impairment.

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