Hilário Xavier Chavela is a sports teacher at Benfica Nova School in Matola, Mozambique. | © S. Roche / HI
Hilario is a sports teacher at Benfica Nova School in Mozambique and lives with a visual impairment. He has been trained by HI to carry out a whole range of inclusive educational activities.
Hilario lives in Matola, a suburb of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. He has been visually impaired since birth. He has always loved sport and teaching so it was natural for him to choose a career as a physical education and sports teacher.
When he started his job, Hilario had difficulties because the school was not adapted to his disability. “In the beginning we used paper timetables. The boxes were very small and I had real trouble reading them. It was exhausting. I talked to the school administration about it and now we've switched to a digital format, which is more comfortable for me. It was the same with the attendance books – the signature space was too small.”
But when it comes to teaching, Hilario has no trouble at all. “I use theoretical rules and practical examples to help students understand my lessons.”
Hilario was not lucky enough to go to an inclusive school when he was a child. “As a student, I was accepted in class, but nothing was done to make me feel really included." Hilario understands that children with disabilities can quickly feel left out if nothing is done to include them in the class.
Hilario has received training in inclusive education from HI’s teams. "They taught us methods and gave us tips on how to include students with disabilities in our lessons," he explains. “I found it very instructive and now I can apply what I learnt in my daily work. I can make sure that all my students have access to quality inclusive education.” For Hilario, the main challenge is to train more and more teachers in inclusive education, to disseminate good practices.
Passionate about his job, he feels that his professional life has strengthened his autonomy and self-esteem. “I chose to be a teacher so that I could make a difference through my work. My job is very fulfilling.”
As well as being a teacher, Hilario has also been a Paralympic runner. “It was an amazing experience”, Hilario recalls. “I worked very, very hard to compete in the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020. But it wasn't just about competing or winning. It’s also really important to build strong relationships with your colleagues, so that you can celebrate these special moments together. As I’m a very sociable person, I talked to everyone. I tried to help my teammates. I was part masseur, part coach and part psychologist!”