Go to main content

A new independence for Yabsera


Read Reisa V. Tomlinson's, U.S. Development Officer, reflection on a a recent field visit to Ethiopia.

Classroom full of smiling and waving children, all wearing yellow school uniform

Smiling children at an inclusive school in Ethiopia. | © R TOMLINSON / HI

The children I recently met in Ethiopia changed me forever. For the past three years, working at HI has allowed me to witness firsthand the impact our projects have made in the lives of millions worldwide. From visiting our projects in Morocco, to my most recent life-changing trip visiting inclusive schools and refugee camps in Ethiopia, I can confidently say to you today, our donors’ support truly makes a difference.

In May, I visited some of HI’s inclusive schools, which were supported by USAID, in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. There, I met children filled with smiles and excitement, grateful for the opportunity to learn. I saw wheelchair users zip from one class to the next using the ramps we built and teacher’s aides translating the day’s lesson in sign language while students attentively listened and responded, approaching the chalkboard with their answers. It was incredibly beautiful to see the teacher and students working together to mold the future leaders of tomorrow.

3 students, two boys and one girl, all wearing yellow, sit in a classroom in front of bookshelves lined with books, toys, and puzzles.

While there, I met with 14-year-old Yabsera (pictured left) during his recess break. Yabsera told me, “I’m really happy at this school, especially seeing children like me.” Born with a disability affecting his legs, Yabsera rarely left his family home and only knew life through the experiences of others. Mobility was a major issue for him. He was often carried around by a family member or crawled across the floor at home. That all changed when he met Humanity & Inclusion. Our team provided him with his very first wheelchair, giving him the independence to move around and attend school.

When I asked him about his goals, he told me that he hopes more kids like him can have the opportunity to attend school. When Yabsera sees other children with disabilities in his community, he tells them, “You can have a future, too.”

Globally, 32 million children with disabilities are not in school – children longing to have a future. With support from our donors, we’re working to change this injustice and open the world to children in countries like Ethiopia, Nepal, Burkina Faso, and Laos through our #school4all campaign. 

Date published: 08/17/18


Where we work

Get the latest news about Humanity & Inclusion's work delivered straight to your inbox.