Malika sitted on her tricycle smiling

"Today, I am a star" - Malika's story of courage in spite of disability

Malika is a 14-year-old girl who was born in Ouallam district with a walking disability in her lower limbs. Her disability caused her father to abandon her with her mother at the age of two and remarry. According to Malika’s mother, she was elated when she found out she was pregnant with Malika after losing three baby boys before any of them had attained age two. And for that matter, she thought the birth of Malika was going to come as a joy and prevent her husband from divorcing and abandoning her and Malika due to her disability.

Two years after their abandonment, Malika’s mother remarried and gave birth to two sons. Unfortunately, Malika and her siblings lost their mother when Malika turned nine years old. The children were then entrusted into the care of their maternal grandmother.

“After the death of my mother, my grandmother became everything to me because she was the one taking care of us. And because she is very old, I have to help her with some income by going to the mosque every Friday to beg for alms. The only friends I had were my brothers and cousins. My joyous moments were on Fridays when I would go to the mosque to beg for alms, because that is where I would meet and spend time with people with similar disabilities as me”, Malika says.

Malika narrates that life has been difficult with her immobility which made her unable to go to school. Living in a house without a latrine, Malika had to use a chamber pot as a toilet, and her grandmother would dispose of the waste. Malika recalls: “I couldn't go to school because I couldn't move around. It made me very sad because my dream is to become a teacher or nurse to take care of children. Every morning, I would stand in front of our dealership to watch children from the neighbourhood, well dressed with their backpacks going to school, and it broke my heart”.

Her disability prevented her from living a fulfilling childhood and fully enjoying the rights of a child as stipulated in the international convention’s Article 23 which specifies that "All disabled children have the right to benefit from special care as well as an appropriate education that allows them to live a full life”.

Malika's story changed when World Vision's Niger office received some tricycles as gifts in-kind (GIKs) from American donors and made a donation to local authorities in Ouallam and the executive office of the Association of People with Disabilities. Malika received a tricycle from World Vision's National Director for Niger and no longer has to beg people to carry her from one place to another.

She says: “Now that I have received this bike I am very happy. I go to the market myself to buy food items, then I go to my uncle's house to get my grandmother's meals. I'm the one who takes millet or other grain to the mill. All the tasks that were impossible and unimaginable for me, I can do them now and whenever I render service to my relatives, they speak blessings on me and this means a lot to me.”

Malika who is now a happy teenager aspires to learn how to sew so that can generate income and open her own fashion shop in the future. Thankfully, Malika's dream is slowly taking shape as World Vision has already contacted the Ouallam vocational training center in order to take the necessary steps to integrate Malika into a vocational learning system in order to help her actualise her dreams.

World Vision is also taking steps to find an opportunity for Malika to benefit from healthcare that can help her to partially or completely restore her mobility.

“I thank World Vision for this gift, which got me out of the situation in which I had lived since my childhood, because I was always on the soil. Thanks to this tricycle, I have become a star in my neighbourhood because every time I leave our house, a group of children who find my bike interesting accompany me. I appreciate the National Director's words of encouragement which gave me courage. Today I believe in myself and in my abilities”, Malika concludes.