ELP Class of 2020

2020 Perkin ELP class

Meet the Educational Leadership Program (ELP) Class of 2020

This fall, 13 dedicated professionals traveled from their homes and communities across the globe to live, work and learn at Perkins School for the Blind. The members of the ELP Class of 2020 have big goals for their time at Perkins. While on campus, they will acquire skills and expertise to work towards the biggest goal of all — a world where all children, including those with disabilities, have access to quality education.

Head shot of Vo Thi Ngoc Ahn

Vo Thi Ngoc Ahn – Vietnam

Vo Thi Ngoc Ahn is a teacher at Nguyen Dihn Chieu (NDC) Special School for the Blind in Ho Chi Minh City, which equips children with educational and vocational skills and provides them with rehabilitative opportunities. Upon completing the ELP and returning home, she aspires to establish a new center that specifically serves children with visual impairment and multiple disabilities (MDVI). “There is no center for children with MDVI in my hometown,” she says.

Head shot of Natalia Lopez Cerna

Natalia Lopez Cerna – El Salvador

Natalia Lopez Cerna teaches at the Salvadoran Foundation for Deafblind and Multiple Disabilities. She lives and works in the Central Region of the country, but hopes once she graduates from the ELP, she’ll be able to extend her reach and share her expertise throughout the neighboring Western and Eastern Regions. “I want to teach children and my peer teachers,” she says. “I dream of being able to train people in other zones.”

Head shot of Mary Helmy

Mary Helmy – Egypt

Mary Helmy works as a consultant and manager of the MDVI/Deafblind unit at Nida Society, a Cairo-based NGO that provides early intervention services. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Ain Shams University. After completing her studies at Perkins, she hopes to improve the quality of educational services for deafblind and multi-disabled children at Nida and in public schools across Egypt. “I want to empower our children to live, to love, to work, to play,” she says. “I want every child to be happy.”

Head shot of Mary Bassey Inyang

Mary Bassey Inyang – Nigeria

Mary Bassey Inyang works at a Special Education Primary School as a classroom teacher and was a participant in the Perkins International Academy Foundations course offered in Nigeria in 2018. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree from Cross River University of Technology in Calabar. While studying at Perkins, she hopes to improve her skills in developing individualized educational services for children with multiple disabilities in Nigeria. “I wish to start a school, because in my region we don’t really have a school that meets the needs of every individual child.”

Head shot of Daudi Kabora

Daudi Kabora – Tanzania

Daudi Kabora works at Patandi Teachers' College of Special Needs where he provides teacher training and also serves as Head of the Visual Impairment Department. He teaches O&M methodology, Braille language skills, psychology of children with visual impairment and adapted physical education. Daudi hopes to expand his knowledge and skill sets pertinent to educating learners who are deafblind in order to become a more effective trainer of teachers in Tanzania. “I want to make sure our teachers have the skills they need to most effectively teach children who are deafblind,” he says.

Head shot of Shinyoung Lee

Shinyoung Lee – Korea

Shinyoung Lee is a researcher for the Special Education and Rehabilitation Science Institution at Daegu University. He came to Perkins to help his university expand their course offerings in visual impairment, multiple and severe disabilities. Once back in Korea, he’ll be involved in special projects related to the development of services for children and young adults in these populations. “I hope to work with the government to make real change,” he says.

Head shot of Ngo Thuy Phuong Linh

Ngo Thuy Phuong Linh – Vietnam

Ngo Thuy Phuong Linh works as an early intervention teacher and serves children with visual impairment and intellectual disabilities at the Center for Development and Support of Inclusive Education in Tien Giang Province. A graduate of Ho Chi Minh University with a degree in special education, she came to Perkins to learn how to provide direct training support for children, parents and teachers throughout the region. “I wish to expand inclusive educational services throughout my province,” she says.

Head shot of Kaique Manuel

Kaique Manuel – Brazil

Kaique Manuel is a Physiotherapist and works at AHIMSA. His responsibilities include providing patient care for those with multiple disabilities, elaborating and applying treatment aimed at functional gains and increased social participation. While at Perkins, he hopes to improve his professional skills in order to offer the best in physical therapy treatment for blind, multi-disabled, deafblind and visually impaired children in Brazil, particularly those that struggle to access therapies from qualified professionals. “I want to create better conditions for people with disabilities because accessibility is lacking,” he says.

Head shot of Carmen Mariano

Carmen Mariano – Chile

Carmen Mariano works at the Helen Keller School in Santiago, where she coordinates academics, serves as a supervisor to teachers and students and oversees individual programs. She holds a Masters Degree in Special Education and Multiple Disabilities from the Metropolitan University of Educational Sciences. While at Perkins, Carmen hopes to gain additional skills for working with students who have sensory impairments that will enable her to provide better support for the teachers under her supervision. “I connected with Perkins because I would like to improve the quality of education and the quality of relationships we have with students,” she says.

Head shot of Susanna Muradyan

Susanna Muradyan – Armenia

Susanna Muradyan works at Armenian State Pedagogical University as an Associate Professor of the Faculty of Special and Inclusive Education as well as Chair of Special Pedagogy and Psychology. She is trained as a teacher and speech therapist and has a PhD in Pedagogy. At Perkins, Susanna hopes to improve her practical skills in working with learners with visual impairment and multiple disabilities so she can be a more effective trainer of teachers. “It’s been my dream for many years to come to Perkins,” she says. “I want to learn more so I can help to make our children happy.”

Head shot of Molly Okomo

Molly Okomo – Uganda

Molly Okomo teaches at Ngetta Girls Annex for the Blind Primary School. A graduate of Kyambogo University in Kampala, she came to Perkins to learn how to better educate students with multiple disabilities and how to improve services throughout Uganda. Upon returning home, she hopes to open a deafblind unit and to sharpen her school’s focus on orientation and mobility. “I have come to Perkins for the betterment of the school and the nation at large,” she says. “I’ll keep teaching and helping the children who have sent me to America.”

Head shot of Tatiana Sopinskaia

Tatiana Sopinskaia – Russia

Tatiana Sopinskaia is a preschool teacher at the Municipal Budgetary Preschool Education Institution. She holds a Masters Degree from Krasnoyarsk State Pedagogical University. While at Perkins, she hopes to gain practical experience working with children with multiple disabilities and their parents. Upon returning to Russia, she hopes to create optimal conditions for her students with a particular focus on social, personal and cognitive development. “I’ve traveled and studied around,” she says. “I’m excited to take all I’ve learned to help children reach their potential.” 

Head shot of Thanh Trinh Thu

Thanh Trinh Thu – Vietnam

Trinh Thi Thu Thanh works at the National Center for Special Education at the Vietnam National Institute of Educational Sciences as a researcher in the area of education for children with visual impairment. Prior, she worked as a teacher of children with visual impairment and multiple disabilities at Nguyen Dinh Chieu Ha Noi School. When she returns home, she plans to provide teacher training for those who work with children with MDVI and promote literacy. “My dream, I really want to open a library for children with visual impairment and MDVI,” she says.