Vanessa de Kauwe’s disability empowerment program has great results in Africa

6 August 2017

The disability education and empowerment program pioneered by CPAS PhD candidate Vanessa de Kauwe is being applied in parts of Africa.

The program uses science engagement to enhance the education and social empowerment of people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

In May and June this year, Vanessa ran workshops based on her program for visiting African science centre leaders while they were in Canberra for an intensive training program at CPAS.

While several nations have followed up on Vanessa’s techniques, the program has been particularly successful in Zimbabwe and Zambia, with the results popping up all over social media.

“ANU's Vanesa has impacted chldrn with disabilities. We follow suit with childrn wth autism in Zim,” tweeted Knowledge Chikundi of the Zimbabwe Science Fair after returning from the CPAS training program.

“Pupils in #Zambia enjoyed th sci shows. Their feedback is overwhelming,” he tweeted.

Vanessa is delighted with the progress.

“This makes all the research, testing and hard work worthwhile,” she said. “I get great results in Australia, but to know that it works in other contexts too is fantastic.”

Knowledge Chikundi noted an added benefit when sharing the successes on Twitter. “You have lit a spark in the girls and now I have a number of them wanting to join the science club,” he wrote.