Yao Gbledjo during a support session in an inclusive class | © HI
Yao Gbledjo is an itinerant teacher in northern Togo. His job is to accompany children with a hearing or intellectual disabilities so they can follow a school curriculum.
Yao has been a teacher for over ten years. He taught in schools in the north of Togo for a few years before deciding in 2017 to work as an itinerant teacher with children with disabilities.
In 2017, Yao took part in a competitive recruitment process for itinerant teachers organised by HI and its institutional partners. He was selected and underwent training with the organisation to learn inclusive education methods. In particular, he learned what adaptations to make to lesson content, methodology and assessments to enable children with disabilities to access adapted education.
"My strong desire to discover the world of people with disabilities and actively participate in the implementation of inclusive education are the real drivers behind my decision to become an itinerant teacher," he says.
Yao specialises in working with children with hearing and intellectual disabilities. As an itinerant teacher, he works both in schools, during lessons, and at the children's homes. He provides adapted teaching materials and adapts the pace of learning to each child, depending on the difficulties they encounter. Yao creates a close relationship with the children he accompanies and with their families.
During his training on the different aspects of disability and inclusion, Yao went on immersion and capacity building internships in specialised schools, including a school for deaf children in Dapaong.
Since then, he has worked in numerous schools in the region. Between 2017 and 2021, he accompanied 75 children with disabilities. As well as these individually supported pupils, there were other children with special needs in the classes and schools in which he worked. In the school year 2021-2022, he supported a further 25 children with disabilities in 18 different schools.
"Today, I don't regret choosing this job because the prejudices I once had about people with disabilities have fallen away. I have also gained new knowledge about inclusive education. I am very happy to have already contributed to the academic success of many of these children with disabilities and I intend to carry on, while continuing to improve myself day by day and interacting with all the other actors," says Yao, with enthusiasm.
HI's inclusive education project in Togo is supported by the French Development Agency (AFD).