Yesterday the first school for the disabled and special needs people was opened in Kobane with great fanfare and a lot of enthusiasm. The opening of this school speaks of the people of Kobane’s great collective dedication and desire to maintain support, despite immense difficulties, for those who are most vulnerable in our community. Usually disabled people are the last to gain attention and support in war torn communities.
The fact that the people of Kobane placed immense emphasis on opening this school speaks of their ongoing commitment to ensure that disabled and disadvantaged members of the community are provided with opportunities, feel included and are, most importantly, visible and celebrated members and contributors of the community. Sadly, in many parts of the developing world, including in the Middle East and of course in Kurdistan too, disabled people are often treated badly, seen as deviants, are social outcasts, hidden or seen as shamefully visible ‘defective’ individuals in the family gene.
In Kobane though we are taking an active step towards redesigning the way in which society and our community views the marginalised, the oppressed and traditional practices and cultural and conservative values. And so, as we continue to rebuild the schools in Kobane with closed borders that prevent the importing of essential building and education materials, Kobane re-pooled its limited resources so that this wonderful and much needed school could be built. Our commitment to diversity in Kobane post liberation must not only be in rhetoric.
It must be seen in practice, in our treatment of the vulnerable, in our efforts towards diversity, towards inclusiveness and towards intersectionality. This is not just a school for the disabled. No, this is a strong political, ideological and community statement to the world. It is a reaffirmation of our commitments and values.
The school will focus on teaching the 15 students Kurdish and computer classes among a number of other lessons. Mamoste Suleyman Mahmoud who is also blind, is a specialist in teaching disabled and blind students, will be leading the school.