Nine year old Jebeh Yorma is a pupil at Grima Primary School, in Tegloma ADP, southern Sierra Leone. She is doing well at school and has made some good friends, but for her this is a new experience.
Jebeh was born disabled and her parents thought it was a waste of time and money to send her to school. Like many others born with such conditions, she was seen as a burden on the family and seemed consigned to a miserable life.
World Vision staff tried to convince her parents to send her to school, without success. Eventually, though, they agreed that she could join a new disabled group network, where she could learn about her disability and talk about her future.
It transpired that her older sister Tenneh was happy for her to come and live with her, and she was also keen for Jebeh to go to school. World Vision paid her school fees and school uniform costs, as well as bought her new stationary.
“Before I didn’t have the opportunity to go to school but now that I do I am very happy,” says Jebeh. “In the future I would like to support others in their schooling, especially those who are disabled, and that can only happen when I am educated.”
Jebeh is not the only person who has been helped by the disabled group network. One member attended a teacher training course, thanks to World Vision’s support, and she is now teaching children in her own community, helping to overcome prejudice against those affected by disabilities along the way.
“Our group does not believe in failure,” says Senesie Massaquoi, chairman of the group. “We believe we can do it, and that’s why we are advocating for our members to be educated and empowered.”