Meftuha, 14, lives in Tulo District, 363 kilometres east of the capital, Addis Ababa. Meftuha has six siblings (two brothers and four sisters).
Meftuha was born with a hearing impairment. She could not communicate a word unless she used a sign language that she developed through time. The communication barrier she had with her family created a profound sorrowful depression. “It was very, very difficult for me to hear people speaking to me and so did I speak to people. My family did not understand what I was saying neither did they had patience to listen to me. This was irritating me so much. I sometimes cried when they lacked patient to understand me and ignore what I was trying to explain to them,” she sadly recalls.
All Meftuha’s siblings go to school. She had to stay at home and support her mother with domestic chores because of her disability to hear.
When her siblings were going to school, she was jealous of them. She was longing the day when she was carrying a bag and going to school like them. After school, she always saw them talk to paper and this was amazing to her.
“One day I asked my mother to send me to school so that I could read like them. Nevertheless, my mum response was heart breaking. She told me that there was no school at all for deaf people like me adding that I had to stay at home all the time. That was the worst news for me to hear. I cried and felt desperate on hearing that from my own mum. Everything came dark. I lost all the dreams and hope that I had in life,” she miserably recollects.
Though her craving for school was discouraged by her mother’s tough response, Meftuha’s need for learning to read and write was not taken out of her heart completely. She was always begging her siblings to teach her reading and writing.
“OK, I said to myself, if there is no school for girls like me, let me ask my siblings to help me read and write. In fact, they tried to teach me a little, yet because they did not communicate their ideas as they wanted with me, they got bored and refused me to do so,” she says. “This disordered my life so much. I hated the way I was created since that day onwards. I was also complaining to God saying why you did create me like this.”
In a bid to create educational access to children with disability, World Vision began implementing inclusion for all projects in Tulo District in 2010. It constructed and furnished two blocks classrooms, provided supporting materials including walking stick, hearing aid, braille, etc. for children with disability, capacitated a number of school teachers on special education and provided trainings to the parents’ of children with disability on how they can treat and communicate children with disability better.
Meftuha has joined World Vision supported school as of 2010 and is now in grade 4 at the inclusive class. She is now very excited. One can read a glimmer of hope in her eyes. She is one of the best performing students in her class ever since she joined school. She stands between 1-3 in her class. She loves the school environment, the games and relationship among the students.
“The school life is very amazing,” she says. “You have someone who can communicate and share your idea. You can play, chat run here and there. You can read books that can tell you about your area and the world.”
Her desperate and broken heart is now restored through World Vision school opportunity.
“I am now feeling like I am fit enough to be like any children. World Vision school opportunity has taken me out of kitchen and desperation,” she says. “My life is repaired and my mind is open and filled with hope. I have a dream to be a medical doctor.”
Seventy-two children with disability have access to education at a World Vision supported school.