Twelve-year-old Emmanuel is a student at Illuhum school in Torit, a region to the east of the capital Juba, in South Sudan. Because of his disability, his mother used to carry him to school on her back, before going to work as a coal seller. A heavy burden on her, it also made life difficult for Emmanuel, who was often late for school.
That is, until he met Humanity & Inclusion (which operates under the name “Handicap International” in South Sudan). Since receiving a tricycle from our team, Emmanuel now travels to and from school on his own. “I still can’t believe I can go so far, so fast!” he says.
“Including people with disabilities in their communities and ensuring they enjoy the same chance of success is vital,” explains Paul Crichley, the Director of HI in South Sudan. “It’s also important that people with disabilities have equal access to healthcare and education. Thanks to his new tricycle, Emmanuel is more independent and can now take part in a complete range of school activities, just like his friends.”
Emmanuel’s school is one of several supported by HI, which helps to make the facility more accessible to children with disabilities. According to Crinchley, it’s been three years since the project was launched and it continues to have a positive impact on people’s lives. “It’s easier to physically access the schools now,” he continues. “And we’ve trained teachers to include children with disabilities in the classroom.” These teachers will continue HI’s work even after the project has ended.
In the Torit region alone, HI has handed out 40 mobility aids, such as wheelchairs and tricycles, to give independence and dignity to people like Emmanuel, who can now move around more easily.
Emmanuel is no longer the last to arrive at school. In fact, he’s always the first! And because he can move around by himself, he plays an active role in school life, and has even been voted class representative. What does he want to be when he grows up? “I want to study and help people who can’t walk, especially children like myself,” he says. “I want to play an equal role in their community.”
HI in South Sudan
HI first deployed an emergency response team to South Sudan in 2006. Since then, our teams have continued to adapt its activities to respond to the immediate needs of the internally displaced population, and promote the equal rights and equal access to services for people with disabilities or injuries. Learn more about our work in South Sudan.