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Index for Inclusion

Index for Inclusion is an instrument to promote real and practical inclusion through public schools by using own resources

Photo of Azat

Written by

What problem does your idea solve?

Kyrgyzstan has roughly 20,000 children with disabilities that do not have access to education. Few thousands have special education in special school or residential institutions. Even in those schools children are not taught and prepared to integrate into society. The Ministry of Education has been implementing several inclusive education projects but with no visible success so far. They got interested in the Index for Inclusion and there is a genuine interest in the Index.

Explain your idea

Two years ago Kelechek Plus NGO had implemented for a year the Index for Inclusion tool that helps public schools to create inclusive environment by involving in planning and execution teachers, students, administration, and parents. The tool was developed by UK professors and now translated and implemented in over 40 countries around the world. This tool is like a manual that guides school step by step through several phases which is similar to project cycle. It helps participants do needs assessment, prioritize their problems, plan how to solve them and work on their implementation. The Index for Inclusion is done together with school planning and is very simple to follow and implement.

Who benefits?

Direct beneficiaries - around 100 children aged 5-10 who will go to preschools/schools. Anastasia (in the photo) is one of them. She's 7 yo beautiful girl with cerebral palsy who cannot walk and sit but speaks and understands. She wants to go to school and the project will support her. Indirect beneficiaries - several hundreds of children who already go to public schools, and around 2-5 thousands of children who are able to go to school and whose parents will hear about the project.

How is your idea unique?

The Index for Inclusion was only implemented by Kelechek Plus in two local schools during 2014-2015 and we received positive feedback from teachers and students including those with disabilities. It was a one-year project supported by the Soros Foundation- Kyrgyzstan.

Tell us more about you

Kelechek Plus is a small local NGO that has been working since 2008 on capacity building of NGOs of parents of children with disabilities in Kyrgyzstan. We are one of the few NGOs that work towards promoting inclusive education in the country. We currently work along 2 lines: - promoting inclusive education, - capacity-building of parent-led initiatives, groups and NGOs. There are 5 regular members of staff and several others are added if necessary for projects implementation.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Will the Ministry of Education go further than several schools? How do we deal with teachers and parents who oftentimes are the first barriers to inclusion?

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Kyrgyzstan

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Idea Maturity

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

How has your idea changed based on feedback?

After initial submission of the idea we have had several meetings with Kelechek's team, parents of children with disabilities, teachers, Ministry's officials (two of them), and talked to representatives of several international organizations - Soros Foundation Kyrgyzstan (which funded the first pilot in 2014-2015), Eurasia Foundation (EF) in Central Asia and World Bank's (WB) project on preschool education. Our team, parents, and teachers worked out the idea (see some drawings), whereas the Soros, EF and WB have expressed their interest and we are planning to have additional meetings to discuss how we can cooperate within the new project supported by OpenIdeo. One of the options we can work with schools they have already been supporting (but none have Index), another is we can share resources, experience, and skills to jointly promote inclusive education. We have already made several presentations to the Soros, Ministry of Education and the WB; the latter is willing to learn more.

Who will implement this idea?

Kelechek Plus will implement the project in partnership with the Ministry of Education and/or city education department and will work with Nazik Kyz NGO (empower young disabled and change attitude), Soros, EF and WB (share resources, expertise) as well as with local parent-led NGOs whose children with disabilities go or want to go to school. They will be involved in relevant activities. Partners' main offices are located in Bishkek. There will be 5-10 full/part-time staff and experts involved.

Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?

In big strategic decisions we usually involve Kelechek Plus' team members, some of them are parents, and may invite experts/trainers (such as for strategic planning or fundraising planning). We usually consider everyone's opinion and come to the consensus as we base our decision-making on equal-to-equal participatory approach. However, despite the fact we have parents of disabled kids as members of our team and try our best to consider them in our decisions and when designing projects we often overlook them. The User experience mapping exercise was very useful as we finally saw and put the child into the picture whereas before these were wordings. For next big decisions re Kelechek Plus and people as well as for project design, we'll use the User experience map for clarification.

What is it that most attracted you to Amplify instead of a more traditional funding model?

We have never heard of Amplify and the Challenge before so to be honest when done with open submission (which was a pleasant surprise to us), we then expected to have something complex and behind-the-doors 'politics'. So far we love this transparent process (even though only two people know English and just one can communicate - but we see the pictures :) of every step we go forward. We'd love to have this kind process done one day in Kyrgyzstan where donors guard their secrets.

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

1) Our boys and girls with disabilities' inability to go to the world, have fun and make friends. They say about and want simple things. Grown-up children are aware of their limitations but they often repeat what their close relatives say to them. So there are many barriers but among them are their parents (often are not aware of that), followed by societal attitude and stereotypes, inaccessible physical environment. If children with disabilities go to school, they often miss and drop out of schools and nobody cares, so many do not get certificates. 2) In terms of education, these are the societal stereotypes of administration, teachers, students and their parents, as well as methodology/curriculum and resources (books). There is a law but it lacks clear realization mechanisms and funding

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question you need to answer to get there?

1) By 2021 we aim to have about 10,000 children with disabilities mainstreamed in all kindergartens and public schools of Kyrgyzstan through adopting new law, new or additional special curriculum, new methodology including Index for Inclusion and getting necessary resources. 2) How do we challenge and change societal attitude and stereotypes that are one of them main obstacles to inclusion?

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this idea together?

  • Between 6 months and 1 year

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed idea live?

  • Between 5-10 paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country you intend to implement your idea in?

  • We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Between $50,000 and $100,000 USD

If your team/idea/organization has a website, please share the URL below.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Bob Achgill

Hello Azat,

You may consider using the free His Hands Reader mother tongue literacy videos able to run on low end user smart phones as your ICT path to turn the hearts of young children entering the Normal schools toward these children with disability.

It's synergistic strategy of Hearing children helping Deaf children will enable Deaf children to be mainstreamed into the Normal school. Usually access to interpreting resources is the largest deterent followed by Hearing children not being able to communicate with Deaf classmates... The "wall of separation" that causes inclusion to fail.

Someday soon in the smallest village of Kyrgyzstan two Deaf children will be walking down the street and every Hearing child will be looking at the two Deaf children as if they are rock stars. They will be trying to "listen in" to their hand sign conversation because they too have learned those same hand signs "accidentally" as they learned to read using the HHR mother tongue literacy videos in preschool and first grade.

You see... the kinematic stimulas of seeing hand signs with each word in the His Hands Reader mother tongue literacy videos also helps the Hearing child to grab hold of the word meanings making reading practice less stressful and fun.

Children who feel over age to come to their grade level or girls who need to miss school or children whose situations keep them at home can continue practice at home... And even get ahead in learning to read foreign languages.

By the point that you have all 1st grade Hearing children in a village or set of schools having learned to read using His Hands Reader videos you will have changed the cultural perception toward "disability". Parents will see this new world through the eyes of their Hearing child plays with "their" Deaf friend.

I bet you may not have even considered including Deaf children since your country may have some schools for the Deaf. But maybe consider including them too because with HHR it is your path to change the minds of everyone... Not just about Deaf... But every disability.

Oh... If every 1st grader knows hand signs. Then you have a class full of potential aspiring Sudo-Peri-Hochets. ;-)

Volunteers have added either their mother tongues and/or hand signs for these literacy videos in Cameroon, Afghanistan, Jordon, China, Nepal, France, Germany, Netherlands, Russia and Ethiopia.

Here is some detail about the growing His Hands Reader volunteer literacy initiative...

Imagine a time when every Hearing and Deaf child can learn to read from the smart phone in their village...hearing and seeing their mother tongue and hand sign on the app?

The time is now!

Do you know someone who would like to volunteer to add their mother tongue or hand signs to the free His Hands Reader literacy system?

The mother tongue literacy videos with hand sign assist opens a path for total inclusion of deaf children among hearing. As hearing children use the mother tongue literacy videos with hand sign assist they naturally learn the means to communicate with deaf playmates.

And don't over look that the mother tongue literacy videos help Hearing children in the Multi lingual Education classroom.

It takes only 30 hours to add your mother tongue. Here are the instructions to volunteer...

Here is an example of the result of volunteers in Jordan who added their local business and mother tongue languages and local hand signs...


Bob Achgill
Helping Deaf and Hearing learn to read so they can read His Word

Here is a little more detail...

Would you like to volunteer to add your hand signs or mother tongue to

These are the ONLY qualifications needed to add your Mother Tongue language or hand signs to the :
1) Native speaker of your mother tongue or hand signs.
2) Read and write your mother tongue (not needed for adding hand signs)
3) Know English well enough to translate the 1742 basic Words to your MT or hand signs
4) Access to Android phone to use the HHR app to add your language. (1.5GB RAM, 3 GB free space)
5) total 30 hours to add your text with voice or video your hand signs.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Azat  and Kelechek Plus Team! We’re excited to share with you feedback and questions from the Amplify team and an external set of experts. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your idea. Your idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.

- We're excited that your idea builds upon an existing model and implemented within the Kyrgyzstan context. Great job!
- Tell us more about the local context and your user group. Do you have existing relationships with community groups and local government? What sort of governmental support can we garner? What laws are in place to push the initiative further, provide resources and funding? What’s the interplay in Kyrgyzstan of international law and local law? Have you integrated schools or other stakeholders into the design and development of your idea?
- We want to know more about your targeted user group and stakeholders associated with your idea! Have you considered bringing together schools in the same area to work in conjunction with each other in terms of implementing any changes to both share knowledge and improve flexibility of response? Will there be wrap around support available to the schools? If so, what level and for how long? Understanding the experience and journey of your user is central to human-centered design. What are local practices that will be hurdles? What are local misconceptions and beliefs about disability? What role do parents play? What do children with disabilities do now?

In case you missed it, check out this Storytelling Toolkit for inspiration for crafting strong and compelling stories: Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - June 4 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Have questions? Email us at

Looking forward to reading more!

Photo of Azat

Hello OpenIdeo team,
there is a positive "trend" among politicians towards inclusive education (currently the capital is leading) because of increasing pressure from activists, parents, community groups, established NGOs and international organizations.

During our last 3-year project we were the only NGOs in the country that worked in all 7 regions of Kyrgyzstan with local community groups, NGOs and local authorities including education departments. We contributed to forming of the national network called Janyryk of parent-led NGOs in the country (consisting of more than 33 organizations) in 2011 which has become the voice of parents and is recognized by the officials, government and members of parliament. We have established contacts with the capital's city education department as well as with the leading specialist on inclusive education and the psychological medical pedagogical consultations of the Ministry of Education.

Kyrgyzstan's Constitution, the UN's Child's Rights Convention (ratified in 1994), The law on rights and guarantees for persons with disabilities (2008), the Law on preschool education (has inclusive education term) mention children's rights to education (the law on education will include that too soon). Ratified international treaties have priority over local laws. Nevertheless, the lack of clear mechanisms and funding slow down the reform in the education sector which has one of the largest funding in the budget (along with social protection).

The idea design has been influenced by:
- previous projects, survey, and research done within our/partner projects on access to education for children with disabilities,
- last project which successfully transferred several children from day care centers to public schools, and we followed those kids and provided individual assistants for a year (Soros got interested hopefully and is considering support to the continuation of the project for the next year)
- past initial discussions we had with two schools where the Index was introduced,
- subsequent meetings with and presentations about Index for the Soros Foundation,
- small multi-sectoral working meetings in 2015 and 2016 which included the Ministry of Education, parent-led NGOs, international organizations working on inclusive education, where we presented about the Index,
- organized recently a focus group with parents, teachers and Kelechek Plus team to work out the User experience map.

The Index for Inclusion is the only tool that does not require external support and funding. It first of all helps participants learn about their problems, prioritize and solve those they can with their resources within the school and in the community (for example, in one case children said that blackboards were put up a bit high on the walls so the school hang them down closer to kids; in another toilet locks were fixed and etc.) Every year the school learns to solve more complex and strategic problems. In other cases they will consult their parents and perhaps involve local authorities, NGOs and businesses to work on certain issues with them. The Index opens up their eyes to their strenghts and opportunities taking into account weaknesses and issues.

Of course, we will need political and regulative support from the Ministry and the city department. We'll need new adaptive curriculum, and methodology. These are been done with the help of international organizations (such as the EC and WB) and we'll eventually get there. One of the main challenges for us is teachers' commitment (they are overloaded), as well as their's and students' and parents' (of non-disabled) attitude. Parents of children with disabilities often come the first barriers to including their children into society. More of them are getting out and some taking kids to public schools but many drop out as they don't have simple support which in most cases is not costly at all.

We'd love to have general and specific training for teachers and students to change attitudes, and some educational materials and methodology would come handy. These and many other challenges will be solved once the school fully adopts the Index and integrates priorities into its school annual plans. 2-3 years of helping them and monitoring the Index implementation is a good time to make it a healthy "habit".

The majority of 20,000 kids with disabilities according to the Association of Parents of Disabled Children, as well as members of the Janyryk national network, are confined to their homes or yards. Although many say now that more and more parents are now taking their kids outside of their homes. There are only about 70 day or full-time care (rehabilitation/habilitation) centers and the absolute majority of them are not staffed with professionals (they can cover about 2000 children), these are as usual their mothers who look after their kids at home and do something with them and others in day centers.

Thank you very much!

Photo of Fadila Lagadien

Hi Azat, do you have legislation in your country to enforce access to schools?

Photo of Azat

Hi Fadila, yes. First of all, the Constitution (article 16 which says no one can be discriminated, including disability). Others include the law on rights and guarantees for persons with disabilities, law on education, regulations on accessible public buildings, UN Convention on children's rights. There are policies, some mechanisms in place but corruption, ignorance, luck of funding, and no awareness are usually the most cited obstacles.

Photo of Fadila Lagadien

That's great, just like us, but we know that legislation does not always translate into action. Have you ratified the UN convention yet? We did but I think it will be a while before we do something about it. Let's continue to talking and good luck.

Photo of Azat

No, we haven't ratified the Convention yet although it was signed in 2011. Although the disability community pushing for it.
Thank you for your support. Good luck to you too.

Photo of Clarice Torrey

I would argue that it is more than children with disabilities that benefit from inclusion. :) When we foster a community that focuses on the individual strengths of a person we begin to realize how vital each person is to the group. I volunteer at a camp for adults with developmental disabilities and they give me more than I could ever give them. I see a huge difference between kids who have been around people with disabilities from a young age, and those who have not. Inclusion is key in reducing stigma, and creating opportunities for people with disabilities makes a better world. You are doing great work and it's an exciting project, but don't forget this is good for everyone in the community! :)

Photo of Azat

Absolutely agree with you, Clarice. I could only add that it's a two-way process: it's not just 'pushing' children with disabilities to normal schools but opening up special schools and residential institutions to local communities too. These are still islands of isolation in Kyrgyzstan and you could see parents hesitantly taking their kids to those schools and kindergartens.
When we promote inclusion we usually say that it's not just for kids for disabilities it's for everyone - mothers with little kids, mothers with prams, the elderly, for those with long-term or short-term illnesses, overweight and many others.
Thank you for your support!

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Azat, thanks for contributing to the Challenge!

What have you learned from your initial pilot that you plan to implement as you grow? Can you share a few more details about the team implementing?

Looking forward to learning more!

Photo of Azat

Hi Ashley,
what we had learned was that
- getting teachers involved right from the beginning was the key,
- all activities in school should be planned and agreed with teachers - one of the key stakeholders in this movement,
- we needed experienced teachers and administrators from schools (say from Russia or Mongolia) that successfully went through the Index cycle and benefited from increased inclusion (using the equal-to-equal approach),
- one should be ready how to use the energy of students who suddenly find that they have a voice in school's life and want to do something about it (we didn't as we didn't have enough experience and skills - though teachers and administration were also not ready),
- at the initial stage the schools that are willing to follow the cycle, form working groups, have an independent observer, should be chosen (and the rest seeing their success will follow),
- and of course, getting political and legal support from educational authorities is very important,
- no administration and teachers should be paid for participation - we are just helping in their efforts to improve the school (some teachers would raise this issue as teachers' salaries are small in Kyrgyzstan).

The implementing team of Kelechek Plus:
- Fatima Tolbaeva, director, project manager, works since 2011,
- Saltanat Torobekova, project officer, special teacher (also worked as an M&E officer), mother of a teenager with severe disability,
- Asel Musaeva, PR officer, mother of a child with a disability (includes autism),
- Ukei Muratalieva, head of Nazik Kyz NGO (of young people with disabilities), trainer, facilitator, coach (MIUSA alumni),
- Azat Israilov, independent consultant, project manager of the Index for Inclusion project, working in the disability sector since 2008 through HealthProm projects implemented in partnership with Kelechek Plus NGO,
- Saltanat Mambetova, senior officer on inclusive education of the Ministry of Education (MoE),
- Tatyana Romanova, head of MoE's psychological, pedagogical, medical consultation (that refers kids to normal or special schools),
- and if needed other local experts on disability issues - such as Tolkunbek Isakov (blind) on legal issues, Rakhat Orozova on social research, evaluation and analysis (expert on inclusive education),

Will be happy to answer more questions.
Kind regards.

Photo of Mussa Gunda

That is good, involving people who are beneficiaries and those around is the best options, all the best

Photo of Azat

Thank you, Mussa.