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President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly visits the Fiji School for the Blind

Country: Fiji Source: UN Children s Fund Students promote transformative and inclusive education for all Fijians Suva, 6 March 2020 Today, 26 students at the Fiji School for the Blind met with the President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Dr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, during a Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts (MEHA) and UNICEF led visit to highlight the importance of inclusion and equity in education. The visit also saw children highlighting their achievement in promoting school-based disaster risk reduction as well as creating a healthy and hygienic school environment through a fire drill and a handwashing activity. Inclusive education has provided me with the opportunity to learn a lot of new skills such as being a responsible person both at home and at school. I believe that if there were no inclusive schools, children like myself and others with special needs would never have the opportunity to have proper education, said Ms. Raina Kumar, Deputy Head Girl of the Fiji School for the Blind. Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have absolute rights in all conditions - including education, disasters and health - especially when they are at their most vulnerable. Fiji ratified this Convention in 1993 and has continued to strengthen its commitment to child rights through transformative and inclusive education for all Fijians. I am extremely pleased to be standing here today amongst such an inspiring group of young people. I also commend the Fijian Government in uplifting inclusivity in the learning programmes. A very warm thank you to the head teacher and teachers of the Fiji School for the Blind for the invaluable work that you are doing to create a future that we can all look forward to - where no child is left behind, said H.E. Dr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande. Suva, 6 March 2020 Today, 26 students at the Fiji School for the Blind met with the President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Dr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, during a Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts (MEHA) and UNICEF led visit to highlight the importance of inclusion and equity in education. The visit also saw children highlighting their achievement in promoting school-based disaster risk reduction as well as creating a healthy and hygienic school environment through a fire drill and a handwashing activity. Inclusive education has provided me with the opportunity to learn a lot of new skills such as being a responsible person both at home and at school. I believe that if there were no inclusive schools, children like myself and others with special needs would never have the opportunity to have proper education, said Ms. Raina Kumar, Deputy Head Girl of the Fiji School for the Blind. Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have absolute rights in all conditions - including education, disasters and health - especially when they are at their most vulnerable. Fiji ratified this Convention in 1993 and has continued to strengthen its commitment to child rights through transformative and inclusive education for all Fijians. I am extremely pleased to be standing here today amongst such an inspiring group of young people. I also commend the Fijian Government in uplifting inclusivity in the learning programmes. A very warm thank you to the head teacher and teachers of the Fiji School for the Blind for the invaluable work that you are doing to create a future that we can all look forward to - where no child is left behind, said H.E. Dr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande. Fiji is one of the most hazard countries with tropical cyclones, flooding, drought, storm surges and landslides becoming annual threats. Fijian children, including the most vulnerable with disabilities, stand ready with practiced safety measures and procedures such as emergency drills weaved into their daily learning to be prepared and effectively address disaster and climate change risks. We hope that the visit to the school today provided His Excellency Muhammed-Bande a real example of our government s strong commitment and great partnership with the United Nations to achieve inclusive and sustainable development for all children in Fiji, said MEHA Head of National Education Services Delivery, Timoci Bure. Additionally, not only is it necessary for children to be prepared well for school but encouraging sanitation and hygiene learning will also enhance the quality of life for children through their active participation. These children at the Fiji School for the Blind have been engaged in making handwashing a habit and have even developed a song for their daily group handwashing. We are proud to be partnering with the Government of Fiji in taking a step forward on the climb to ensure that national efforts on sanitation and hygiene, as well as disaster risk reduction and inclusivity reach all children, said UNICEF Pacific Deputy Representative, Vathinee Jitjaturunt. UNICEF, together with the Australian Government, civil society partners like the Pacific Disability Forum, and other UN agencies, including UNDP, have provided continuous support to MEHA to advance its commitment for an inclusive, safe and healthy learning environment for all children in Fiji. ### About the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts The Ministry is responsible for the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of educational legislations, policies and programmes in Fiji. MEHA provides the structures, human resources, budget and administrative and management support to ensure that the quality of service delivery is maintained at a high level. Media Contacts Zubnah Khan
Communication Officer
UNICEF Pacific
Tel: +679 330 0439 Ext. 175
Tel: 715 7586
Email: zukhan@unicef.org


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