Fostering inclusion

Fostering inclusion through Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education

Maimouna Traore is a 9-year-old girl living with a disability. She is daughter of Adama and Farima, a couple living in Kolokani community in the Beledougou area program. Maimouna was born with undeveloped lower limbs. Her birth was a problem in the family because for her father, her birth was a shame and she would be spoken ill of because of her disability.

Isolated, she cried a lot and was disgusted with school.

Her mother, overwhelmed and humiliated for birthing a cripple, left the marital home with her daughter to live with her older sister in Didieni community in the Baoule area program, where she stayed for 7 years. Towards the end of the 7th year Farima went back to join her husband in Kolokani, leaving Maimouna with her sister.

Maimouna was taken to school for the first time in 2017-2018; she was already nine years old. She travels on a special bicycle (rickshaw).

According to the school principal, Maimouna was the subject of much contempt, mockery and rejection by her schoolmates. Isolated, she cried a lot and was disgusted with school.

Maimouna has become the star of the school.

Today with the implementation of the inclusive WASH UP!  project in her school, Maimouna has become the star of the school, not only helped by her classmates but also by the school as a whole, and in return, she also helps her classmates.

Maimouna smiles brightly and confesses, "I really like the inclusive WASH UP program because it taught me many things like the promise of a champion of hygiene, cleanliness, hygiene through the games and images, and other resources. Not to forget the videos of Raya, Elmo and Giza (Sesame Street characters). I love all three characters but my favorite is Giza who is in the same situation as me, however he has found his smile like me. Now I can help my friends to become cleaner and nicer."

I love all three characters but my favorite is Giza who is in the same situation as me, however he has found his smile like me.

The WASH UP project does not exclude any child. Not only have we learned to be accepting and helpful but also to be clean and neat. We now have a water point and a latrine, all with ramps, in the school compound that perfectly meet my needs. Handwashing devices with soap are also at the exit of the latrine. I expect this program to continue for the development of children like me.”