In Mexico, Perkins works with schools, families and a Strategic Working Group (SWG) to build a sustainable, scalable model for quality education in the country. This Mexican SWG is called “Izamal”, a Mayan word that means “high brightness light”. The group, under Perkins guidance, wants to shed light into how to build an inclusive society in Mexico where all children, including children with disabilities, can learn and thrive. Izamal is composed of representatives of public and private organizations, government officials, and families with visual disabilities and deafblindness.
Izamal wants every teacher in Mexico to know how to teach children and youth with deafblindness and multiple disabilities. The group’s goal is that teachers are better equipped to respond to these students’ unique needs. This is why Izamal advocated with authorities at the national and state level to change the training program for students who are pursuing a degree at teacher training institutions. After intense negotiations, 15 out of 32 states in Mexico agreed to incorporate a mandatory subject about the education of students with multiple disabilities in their curriculum starting in September 2022. Among these 15 states are Jalisco and Mexico City, two of the three most populated states in Mexico.
This is an important accomplishment for Izamal and Perkins. This will improve the quality of education in Mexico and will help pave the way toward systemic change.