Sometimes we get to witness amazing stories. Today is one of those days. We celebrate this sweet boy, now fitted with an adaptive wheelchair, who will join the Special Education classroom in Halaba in September. He will FINALLY attend school — something he has dreamed about for so long!Roots Ethiopia has walked alongside this beautiful boy since we first met last year during eye exams for special needs students at our Learning Resource Project at Lai Bedene School in Halaba. As part of the partnership with Lai Bedene, we support a special education classroom. When we met this 10 year old, his smile, his precious personality, and his family’s devotion to his care was evident. We were smitten.
Living with a serious disability in remote Ethiopia is challenging. Only .4% of students enrolled in primary school are special needs students (Ethiopia Ministry of Education). Access to adaptive technologies, comprehensive health care, and social acceptance is a tremendous strain on children and families.
Here Is What We Know:
- All children can learn
- We are committed to providing education for ALL children
- We support providing special classes for children with disabilities which is critical to inclusive education
- We are committed to supporting teachers for instruction for ALL students to learn so that learners of all kinds can actively participate in school and in society.
We learned how deeply his family yearned to know more about his disability, develop more strategies to keep him healthy and thriving, and (this is where we come in….) ENROLL him in school. His family needed some help assembling resources and expertise, and we searched for ways to respond.
We began advocating for him by request of the local Women and Children’s Affairs Ministry. We assembled a small but mighty team to help source services and to independently sponsor his medical care. Roots Ethiopia does not have medical sponsorship capacity, but we have great friends and supporters who took this on as an independent project! And WOW they got to work!
Here he is TODAY, thrilled to be sitting in his very own wheelchair. The good doctors at CURE Hospital in Addis Ababa met our friend, confirmed his diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, provided some strategies for health and wellness, and then sent him to a very special wheelchair non-profit on the outskirts of Addis. We are so very grateful for the good care from CURE and for the generosity of a specially fitted and adaptive wheelchair from Cheshire Services Ethiopia.
In the fall, this young little warrior will go to school in his village! He will sit tall and proud and he will learn with his friends. He has waited for this for so long. His smile is a mile wide, and he is already practicing using a pen and writing! We are so proud of this child, and we are grateful his family has been committed to finding ways for their son (and brother) to thrive. What an honor it has been to be a small part of his journey. We can’t wait to see him in the classroom in September!
(Writing with his Daddy’s encouragement)
To all of you who lent a hand, THANK YOU! To those of you who would like to meaningfully support our work with students with special needs, please make a gift to our work! This is what happens when Roots Ethiopia is part of your giving plan. <3
*Note — if you are aware of a strong medical sponsorship program for children from rural Ethiopia, we’d love to hear from you! We are eager to build our portfolio of resources to refer children like this to for services and support. Thank you!