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‘An Attitude of Tolerance’

Inclusive Islamic School Reduces Bullying Cases Against Indonesian Students with Disabilities

Indonesian schools face a bullying crisis: 41 percent of Indonesian students have reported bullying, and up to 40 percent of child suicides in Indonesia are linked to bullying. Children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to this type of abuse – and already face steep obstacles to staying in school. Some schools have found a way to reduce the problem – make their classrooms more inclusive. When students with disabilities are included instead of segregated, they’re less likely to be stigmatized by their non-disabled peers. As of 2018, about 13.2 percent of general Indonesian schools were inclusive, while only about 0.04 percent of Indonesia’s Islamic schools, known as madrasas, were inclusive. Since 15 percent of all Indonesian students attend madrasas, these schools are crucial to preventing stigma and violence against students with disabilities. One such school, MI Ma’arif Keji, has experienced some success in making its classroom inclusive, providing hope that others can and will follow. *Video includes audio descriptions for blind and low-vision audiences. *Read along by clicking the cc button on your YouTube player.

*Click here for the Bahasa Indonesia version of this film.

Photo of Naufal Asy-Syaddad.

Filmmaker: Naufal Asy-Syaddad

Naufal Asy-Syaddad is a disability rights activist with autism. After joining Yogasmara Foundation’s finance staff last year, Asy-Syaddad became chairperson of the foundation’s youth group. Yogasmara Foundation provides accommodation, accessibility, and advocacy services for Indonesians with autism and developmental disabilities to gain equality in fulfilling their rights as citizens. The foundation was started by his mother, disability rights activist Lani Setyadi. It is based in Semarang, the capital of Central Java.  

In 2015, Asy-Syaddad was selected to be a “disability ambassador” representing Indonesia at a training in Thailand on the rights of persons with disabilities. Beyond his work with the Yogasmara Foundation, Asy-Syaddad is a talented mathematician, achieving top honors in national competitions and garnering local press attention. He recently earned a mathematics degree from Diponegoro University. With the Disability Justice Project, he hopes to share his experiences to end the stigma and discrimination against persons with autism.

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