“He is now able to walk in the street with confidence, he doesn’t worry what other kids think of him.” (Parent)
“In a way, there’s difference, but I think it’s because of it only takes time to teach the children living with disabilities than children who are living without disabilities. It’s easier to teach them when they learn faster, but to those who are living with disabilities it takes time for them to learn and they forget easily. So I think that is only different, except that, it’s the same.” (Tutor, Free State)
In the last year, PULSE has worked closely with the Free State field bands in Parys/Vredefort, Viljoenskroon and Kroonstad. In Free State, the field bands are designated “inclusive bands”, meaning that they make an effort to reach out to local schools and centres for children and youth living with disabilities. This also means the inclusive bands have a higher percentage of field band members living with disabilities than field bands in other regions may have.
PULSE has interviewed members and tutors in the inclusive bands throughout the year, and also undertaken a survey with parents and school teachers with a connection to the inclusive bands. This information has led to the production of a report with the aim to map current attitudes towards people living with disabilities, and how FBF can contribute towards building positive attitudes. The report has focused on four main questions:
- What are the current attitudes of parents and teachers towards inclusive bands and people living with disabilities?
- What effect does FBF have on these attitudes?
- Which benefits and impacts do parents/teachers/tutors/members see as a result of field band activity?
- What improvements can FBF make in terms of supporting the inclusive bands?
“I did just want to go there to help the other kids as the Field Band did help me. I’m here because I’m helping kids, other kids to improve.” (Tutor)
“The connection between the dance teacher and me is good, he listens to me. The Field Band is like a family to me.” (Female band member, 20)
You can read and download the report here: Report on inclusive field bands in Free State
Written by Ingrid Thorstensen, photos by Aleksander Braathen