ELP Class of 2019

2019 Perkin ELP class

Meet the Educational Leadership Program (ELP) Class of 2019

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 2019 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 Samir Ashmawy.

Wilson A. Abugri — Ghana

Wilson A. Abugri manages staff and students at Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind and previously worked as a teacher. “What inspires me to do this work is an innate urge to continuously support others by creating opportunities for them to succeed,” said Abugri. “My dream for my work when I return home after the ELP would be to establish, manage and sustain a deafblind center at Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind.”

Head shot of Carolina Bahamonde.

Moatasem Afaneh — Israel

Before coming to Perkins, Moatasem Afaneh worked as an occupational therapist at Al-Shrouq School for the Blind. “During my clinical trainings and with my own personal experience as a person with visual impairment, I noticed the lack of specialists in the field of multiple disabilities with visual impairments in the Israeli and Palestinian communities,” said Afaneh. “I will be back with the needed knowledge, skills and experience, which I will be sharing with colleagues, clients and the local community where I live.”

Head shot of Chrissie Chikunkhuzen

Perla J. Corrales Ordonez — Honduras

Perla J. Corrales Ordonez works as coordinator of educational inclusion at the Infracnovi Center for the Visually Impaired. “The ELP will allow me to expand my knowledge and have the best pedagogical strategies for my students,” said Corrales Ordonez. “I want to be that helping hand that encourages them to go to the unknown and motivates them to know a little more about the world that surrounds them.”

Head shot of Tuti Hendrawati

Anna Dorofeeva — Russia

Anna Dorofeeva works as an English teacher at the Rostov Special Boarding School No. 38 and teaches in the homes of children with visual impairment and multiple disabilities (MDVI) who are not in school. “About five years ago, I bought a book published by Perkins and translated into Russian, and it had practical advice on working with children with multiple disabilities. It felt like I had been in the dark and finally saw the light,” said Dorofeeva. “For me, Perkins is the best place to learn how to work with children with MDVI.”

Head shot of Emi Kamei

Hoang Xuan Thao — Vietnam

Sister Thao is head of special education at Bac Ninh Home for the Blind. “In Bac Ninh, the smallest city in the north of Vietnam, there are a lot of children who are blind. However, there is only one house for the blind — and this is our house,” said Sister Thao. “I will share my knowledge, skills and everything I can learn with our sisters, our staff and with children's parents.”

Head shot of Marta Luczkow.

Jigna Joshi — India

Jigna Joshi is a project manager at the Blind People’s Association, Center for Children with Special Needs. “Smiles of children and faith of parents in me inspire me,” said Joshi. “Most of the leading organizations in India have staff trained by Perkins. It was my dream to be trained at Perkins.”

Head shot of Natalia Stella Nadal Rosas.

Pikul Leosiripong — Thailand

Pikul Leosiripong is a lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Chiang Mai University. “Children with multiple disabilities are the group in my country which few teachers and organizations can serve,” said Leosiripong. “I can support the children with multiple disabilities by having functional programs within organizations and through my master’s degree students, who are teachers in special education centers.”

Head shot of Ksenia Nikolaeva.

Scovia Nansuwa — Uganda

Scovia Nansuwa is a special projects consultant for Perkins International in Uganda and previously worked as an educational specialist for USAID/Uganda School Health and Reading Program. “Perkins has a great reputation — the facilities and the professionals here for MDVI and deafblindness are second to none,” said Nansuwa. “This training will enrich my knowledge and skills in transition programs — I hope to strengthen and establish more sustainable transition programs so as to have more independent and productive children and young adults with MDVI and deafblindness.”

Head shot of Omolola Oguntunde.

Ji Qin — China

Ji Qin teaches students with multiple disabilities at the Shanghai School for the Blind. “In my country, the education of children with multiple disabilities is still in its infancy, and many parents of these children also need more educational support from teachers,” said Qin. “I am inspired to do this work by the pursuit of fairness and quality in education of children with multiple disabilities.”

Head shot of Enock Ombok.

Natalia M. Quintero — Argentina

Natalia M. Quintero teaches various subjects, including math and Spanish, to children who are deaf or have hearing impairment at Special School No. 3 in Neuquén. “It inspires me to educate people with multiple disabilities and deafblindness knowing that — despite the limitations and challenges the person has — there is always the desire and the possibility to communicate with each other,” said Quintero. “Communication is the foundation of learning.”

Head shot of Shahanaz Parveen.

Ausward Siwinda — Malawi

Ausward Siwinda is a specialist teacher at Salima Resource Centre for the Blind, working with students who have visual impairment. “I chose to come to Perkins because it has all the resources that are required to develop a child with multiple disabilities and visual impairment holistically,” said Siwinda. “Perkins is globally very well known for its good work.”

Head shot of Estefana Perlaza Brenes.

Polina Ulianova — Russia

Polina Ulianova is a speech therapist at State Budgetary Educational Institution School No. 117, working with children who are deaf and have cochlear implants. “I really want to be a part of a large international community making the lives of children with disabilities better,” said Ulianova. “I want to find all children who are deafblind in our region who haven't received special help yet and create a community of teachers and parents for the most effective social inclusion of this group of children.”

Head shot of Dede Supriyanto.

Derya Uyar — Turkey

Derya Uyar is a TVI at Mitat Enc School for the Blind. “My biggest dream is to prepare a communication and interaction guide for teachers and parents of children with MDVI and deafblindness,” said Uyar. “Teachers are always learners, and I want to be a better teacher. I know the best training is at Perkins — it is the best school in the world for me.”

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