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An effort to integrate

Post graduate researchers at the Public Policies of the Education School of USP are working to improve the attention given to the blind, the deaf and physically handicapped who go to schools in Campinas (only 20% of them in the public school system). In partnership with the Municipal Education Department , and with the support of FAPESP, they are developing a project that predicts the making of two videos and aims the training and formation of teachers in special education (there are 190 in the municipality), and at the same time increasing the number of students from the current 256 to around 2,000.

Jointly with the educational sector the goal is to better attend to the specifics of each handicapped child. “This may sound very pretentious, but we believe that we are able to do it “, says the coordinator, professor Lisete Regina Gomes Arelaro, who is counting on the support of the Department. The team intends to convince the handicapped children, their parents and society in general, of the quality of public education and to involve them in a process of integration – which is the most important point of the research.

“It is not enough just to enroll the handicapped child into the school network” emphasizes Lisete. What characterizes the project is the work of various departments – beginning with Education and including Culture, Works and Sport – and also the general public. For this reason, she highlighted two goals that are being completed: the improvement in teaching and a new of community spirit towards the handicapped – that contributes to an increase in their self-esteem. Each one of these aspects will be dealt with in a video documentary in which the handicapped children, their families, staff of the institutions that aid the blind and autistic, and teachers will participate.

“Today the handicapped are clandestine in their own town. They don't go to parks, indeed they hardly ever leave their homes. People have not been prepared to live together with those who are disabled and they themselves, for their part, fade away into the background, and end up forming ghettos”, appraises Lisete. Though Campinas has problems, such as inadequacies in the majority of its public places, there are many positive points. “Campinas is a rich city, with eight public squares only in the center, where the blind, deaf and autistic can spend their time close to nature; there is even a library specializing in Braille.”

She concluded that prejudice makes the use of these spaces difficult. The second phase of the project will continue until November of next year. The videos, which will be of between eight and ten minutes long, will be promoted in newspapers, radio, television and outdoor posters. “We want to provoke the inhabitants of Campinas and to awaken in them an interest for this question.”