The Hosetta Abdullah Memorial Special Needs School is one of the few schools which is specialised in the education of mentally disabled children. For the implementation of this project, the association initiated a cooperation with the Department of Special Education IV – Education with Intellectual Disabilities of the University of Würzburg in March 2014. The aim of this cooperation is the regular dispatch of advanced university students of special education who support the teaching staff with the latest teaching methods and teaching materials in the field of special education.
In the first half of 2014, two students of the University of Würzburg spent three months at the school in Freetown. Both the school’s administration and the interns evaluated this internship very positively, as did the Department for Special Education of the University of Würzburg. Unfortunately, the Ebola outbreak prevented the planned continuation of the project during the second half of the year 2014. The school had to stop operating for a period of more than one year.
The program was resumed in 2018
Two students of the University of Würzburg from the Department of Special Education tested a new teaching-methodology (MGML) and organized the resumption of a sewing-class, which generates a little income for the whole school: Their self-made bags can be sold on the local markets.
The interns organized a lecture by the head of the Sierra Leonean Epilepsy Association for the teachers of the school. Both sides benefited from this knowledge-transfer. However, the reports from the interns made it clear that a larger-scale engagement in Sierra Leone must take place in the area of special education. Therefore, a realignment of the project was planned: the former intern Vera Brunhuber carried out a comprehensive analysis for the exchange program. The aim is to organize a regular exchange of knowledge between the University of Würzburg and the University of Makeni in Sierra Leone.
Further development of the educational partnership project
Today, the project to support the Hosetta Abdullah Memorial Special Needs School has evolved into an educational partnership between the universities of Würzburg and Makeni. The cooperation and knowledge transfer contribute to a greater impact on site. Pedagogical training for teachers in Sierra Leone is of paramount importance so that inclusive education for children with intellectual-cognitive limitations is possible. The Summer School Makeni 2019 organized by the association has already received very positive feedback.