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Celebrating "Inclusion Matters" and "Access for All" in Senegal
On November 27, 2015, the YES Abroad students in Senegal had the opportunity to give their IEW presentations at L’École Renaissance des Sourds, the Renaissance School for the Deaf, in Dakar. The presentations perfectly brought IEW activities and International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) together. As this year’s IEW theme was “access for all,” the IDPD theme of “inclusion matters” couldn’t have been better coordinated.
Due to the timing of the presentations, Dana M. noted that the students’ goals were not only to educate Senegalese teenagers about life as an American teenager, but also “to inform the students about exchange scholarships that are available to students with disabilities.” As many of the local students in attendance are currently participating in YES recruitment and had taken their English assessments just the day before, the YES Abroad students discussed life for deaf people in the U.S. during their presentations.
Jade H. added that the students were also, “all very interested in learning about our lives in the U.S. and our transition to life in Senegal.” Other subjects covered were sports, American families, and the YES Abroad students’ knowledge of sign language. When discussing her knowledge of sign language, Jade H. commented, “I was embarrassed at my lack of knowledge, but was grateful when the students taught me how to sign ‘thank you,’ ‘good morning,’ and ‘nice to meet you.’”
After the presentations, questions, and photos, it was unfortunately time for the YES Abroad students to go. Jade H. said, “we were blessed with an amazing audience at L’École Renaissance and I wish I could have stayed longer, but I hope a few [students] will keep in touch!” The presentations were a great way of showing how YES Abroad and YES promote “inclusion matters” while also fostering cultural exchange. Great job, YES Abroad Senegal!