Manos Unidas Peru is working towards desegregating education for children with disabilities. The goal is inclusive employment: for youth to get jobs in the community. But how can they go from segregated education, isolated from the society to a job where they are expected to perform in a real-life environment?
Manos Unidas partnered with the vocational training school Inca Educa , a Dutch supported NGO providing skills training to marginalized youth. Since the partnership began in March of 2019, 20 Manos Unidas youth with disabilities are attending school on their campus with approximately 400 youth from the region of Cusco and integrated into their skills training modules.
The partnership provides its own classroom for Manos Unidas attendees, places a certified teacher from Inca Educa and provides additional curriculum taught by Manos Unidas teachers. The additional curriculum is the missing piece for the few youth with disabilities who are included into other programs around the region. It teaches life skills, job readiness skills, social skills and even sex education and sexual abuse prevention. The combination of the two curriculums (vocational + life) provides an integral education focused on the success of future employment for the youth.
In December, 2019, 20 Manos Unidas youth participated in a graduation ceremony for the first time in their lives, celebrating their vocational certification in housekeeping and dining room modules. Some of the students will go onto work at Manos Unidas Café in 2020, others will be included into other modules with typically developing students and those who need a little extra support will repeat the modules with higher expectations and apply their skills at Manos Unidas café as job trainees.
We are proud to see our youth being integrated into regular education systems that will increase their probability for successful inclusion into the workforce.