Hope for Alice to return to school

Education

A 13-year-OLD girl who was born with a hearing and speech impairment can now enjoy reading her favourite books thanks to book club supported by a PNG-Australia partnership.
Alice Koroka Baupua, from Mou village in Kairiku, Central, is a young cheerful and active lass despite her disabilities.
Her only means of communication is through sign language which she learned while growing up.
Despite her disability, she attended a local elementary school near her village.
But she left school due to stigma and discrimination from her classmates. Today, the book club which Baupua attends has disability inclusive reading materials to support her reading.
Flash cards are used alongside reading books and different reading strategies to help Baupua develop and strengthen her reading ability.
The reading club mentor and volunteer Helen Nu’u said the colourful pictures of everyday life in PNG and the simple texts in the books made it easier for Baupua to read and understand the stories.
“Alice looks at illustrations on the pages and develops the story in her own mind and use sign language she knows to tell the story,” Nu’u said.
Baupua’s favourite book is called Me and my school.
She said she loved the book because it gave her hope of returning to school despite the fear of being discriminated by other students.
Baupua flipped the page to her favourite part of the story that showed the picture of a girl walking towards a classroom with excitement.
She pointed to the picture and used sign language to say she dreams of going to school every day to learn to read and write just like the girl in the book.

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