Growing in Confidence and Knowledge
“What is amazing about me is that I am a quick learner and am among the top five students in my class.”
At 14 years old, Charity is leading her Primary 6 class to excellence, and has already overcome persistent obstacles to receiving the quality education she deserves. Though shy on the playground, she comes alive in the classroom—lighting up during a science lesson or at the opportunity to help a friend with their schoolwork. Against great odds, Charity has found her confidence and a place to belong. But it hasn’t always been that way.
A Challenging Road
Charity was born with a physical disability that makes her mobility difficult. The very fact that she is in school is already an impressive achievement. Globally, nearly 50% of children with disabilities are not in school. In fact, around the world, disability is the single-most serious barrier to education and children with disabilities confront the same barriers to education regardless of sex, age, household income, and location of residence (UNICEF). According to USAID, children with disabilities in Rwanda are far less likely to start—and stay—in school.
Advocating for Inclusion
With her family’s help, Charity has overcome those odds. But it hasn’t come easy.
Charity’s parents have been her biggest encouragers and advocates in their community and home. They know that education is powerful and could lead to a much brighter future. But as the only student with a disability in her school, Charity was initially unaccepted by her classmates. She was made to feel different due to stigma, misunderstanding, and a lack of awareness. Because her classmates didn’t understand her disability, Charity was bullied. An already shy child by nature, she found it difficult to stand up for herself.
Her dad shared,
“As a parent, integrating my child in school became a priority. The challenge has been creating awareness with the other students who tend to exclude her because of her difference but the school has supported my child by accepting her for who she is.”
Charity’s parents banded together with her teachers to create a safe and welcoming classroom where she can receive all she needs to grow and thrive.
“We told the teachers that they have to protect her from other kids laughing at her so they did and promised to teach her. We had a time when she was bullied by other students but the teacher helped her stay connected in the classroom and the bullies were expelled from the school. We collaborate with the teacher. When there is a problem, the teacher calls me and we try to find a way to solve it.”
Charity has grown in confidence and knowledge through the course of her learning journey, thanks to her parents’ advocacy and the welcoming support of her teachers.
Her dad shared that:
“The transformation with my child has been evident. She’s excited to go to school and learn from her teacher. We have seen how she has succeeded in her subjects.”
Will you give a gift to create more inclusive classrooms for children like Charity?
Click here to read Part 2 of Charity’s story.