Disability Awareness – A Service Learning Experience

Industry and
Community Partners

Global Rainbow Foundation

Consulting (Service Learning)

University

Charles Telfair Institute, Mauritius

Innovative Features

  • Engaging multiple disciplines
  • Community engaged
  • Co-designed with industry or community
  • Coach or mentor elements

Enablers

The key enablers of the #Nukapav service learning project included the academics, students and sponsoring organisations commitment and motivation towards the project and dedication to the cause of promoting awareness about the rights, challenges and aspirations of PWDs in Mauritius. In addition, the level of trust and teamwork shown between all parties resulted in strong partnerships and positive outcomes.

For more information

Please contact Sarita Hardin-Ramanan sarita.ramanan@telfair.ac.mu

 

Links

Sarita Hardin-RamananLoga Devi Balla SoupramanienDavid DeLapeyre, “Project #NuKapav: a Mauritian service-learning case study”, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journalhttps://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-01-2017-0008

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Project #NuKapav at Curtin’s Mauritius Campus, aims to provide a service learning experience for 2nd and 3rd year students from the Schools of Design, Mass Communication and Law. The cross-faculty project was extra-curricular and therefore non-credit bearing. The work integrated learning (WIL) experience required students to develop a campaign to promote awareness about the rights, day-to-day challenges and aspirations of People with Disabilities (PWDs) in Mauritius for the sponsoring organisation, Global Rainbow Foundation (GRF). The WIL project was divided into three related phases:

  1. Construct an identity for the project and develop associated visual supports.
  2. Develop and instigate a communication strategy to engage with members of the public.
  3. Review legal requirements, which involved exploring international treaties such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and its application within the domestic law of Mauritius.

The 23 students involved in the inaugural #NuKapav project worked closely with academic staff, meeting every week for one hour to consult and seek advice. students worked closely with the GRF team to determine project outcomes that align with GRF visions and values. No creative restrictions were applied to the students which encouraged exploration and discovery  of many innovative ideas.

Impact / outcomes

Students: The experience of meeting deadlines, managing a team, and communicating to people in industry gave students an understanding of how multidisciplinary teams work in the real world. The service learning experience provided students with the opportunity to reflect on how to live within the world – to see people for who they are, regardless of their disability, gender or ethnicity. Project #NuKapav provided students with an authentic learning experience, helped them enhance both their discipline knowledge and generic skills, and nurtured a more inclusive mind-set while also awakening a desire for social justice.

Host Organisations: The impact of the awareness raising campaign was significant. The message of #NuKapav was felt in Mauritius. This outcome addressed a key recommendation of the UN in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Further, students were involved in the process of compiling an awareness raising campaign (social media, TV, radio etc) and are now aware of the difficulties faced by people with disabilities in Mauritius and around world-wide.

Teaching Staff: Benefits for teaching staff included a greater awareness of challenges faced by industry partners in addressing the needs of people with disabilities. Staff were also prompted to reflect on their personal ethical and professional perspectives in relation to business operations. The engagement with the industry partners promoted a deeper relationship with scope to leverage other opportunities.

Student Assessment

No formal assessment.

Quality Indicators – Evaluation

A focus group was used to explore the #Nukapav project student experience. Results confirmed all students agreed that the learning experience was authentic. The students also recognised project #NuKapav as an opportunity to improve their learning by applying classroom-based content into practice.

From a professional service-learning perspective, the students recognised the opportunity to improve on several generic skills including leadership capabilities, communication, team work, self-management and crisis management. On a civic engagement level, twenty students admitted to a complete change in mind-set towards PWDs and reported an even more determined desire to disrupt the existing practices and beliefs that contribute to PWDs struggle for social inclusion.

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