HANDS’ Fellow Strives to Improve Education for Children with Disabilities  

 Tawhid Sharaky, an alum of our Professional Fellows Program, is currently implementing life-changing programs in schools all across Egypt! As a member of the Ministry of Education, Tawhid has tremendous influence over the educational system, specifically public schools in Egypt.

Focusing on children with disabilities, Tawhid hopes to create early intervention programs, transitional services, and individualized lesson plans while focusing on what students need in order to live independently and productively as adults. We are so proud of our fellow for his passion and persistence in taking the initiative to implement a multitude of influential programs.

Through his experiences in HANDS’ Professional Fellows Program, Tawhid was able to visit numerous institutions in Chicago that advocated for and enforced disability rights. His visits to the  College of Education, Family Resource Center on Disabilities, College of Applied Health Services and the Department of Disability and Human Development (DHD) greatly influenced his thinking.

As the current Education Planning and Monitoring Manager in the education district of Kafer El-Sheikh governorate, Tawhid serves 500,000 students in 1,700 schools in 13 cities throughout Egypt. Individually, Tawhid is a facilitator for school performance teams, which hold weekly in-school training workshops for teachers focusing on improving practices, lesson plans, evaluations, and assessment tools. More recently, he has included parental involvement that raises awareness while advocating for better education for children with disabilities. Parents, their children, and teachers now communicate in monthly meetings to discuss disability involvement opportunities and how to overcome any existing obstacles.

The main new program that Tawhid is trying to implement involves helping educators create individualized learning plans. By using the workbook by the Illinois State Board of Education entitled “When I’m 3, Where Will I Be?”, he is raising awareness regarding helping parents identify early signs of disabilities in their child. The second initiative Tawhid is tackling involves forming focus groups for each school subject. By looking at each subject individually, educators are able to provide standards and technical support to implement and tackle disability issues by creating standardized lesson plans.

Because of the high demand for the implementation of these disability-based programs, Tawhid is coordinating building resident teams to work in 13 different cities. Each team will include a team coordinator, two special education teachers, a psychologist, and a social worker.   Tawhid’s program provides schools with the equipment and supplies necessary to effectively serve students with disabilities. In 2012, 28 schools provided inclusion services for 140 students. In 2015-through Tawhid’s work-350 schools provide services to 2,000 students! This incredible increase of students reached speaks volumes to the success and reach of Tawhid’s efforts!

A very special thank you to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the numerous individual donors who have made the Professional Fellows Program a success. Thank you so much for enabling these young professionals to change the future for students with disabilities in Egypt!