Yentougle and her twin brother Yenhame come from a family of seven children, five boys and two girls. They both have vision impairments, as do their older sister Larba and younger brother Tampo. Thanks to the inclusive education initiative for blind students set up by HI and its partners in Togo, the twins are receiving an adapted education.
Ten years of support
Yentougle and Yenhame live in Sibortoti, a village on the outskirts of Dapaong in northern Togo. Their family is living in considerable poverty and cannot afford specialized care and education for all four of their visually impaired children.
Because of their disability, Yentougle and Yenhame had difficulty moving around and finding their way on their own. They couldn’t join in the other children’s games and were sometimes stigmatized.
"We couldn't send them on errands," says Tchable Lyabine, the twins' father. "They couldn't help us with the daily chores, like cleaning, or with the market gardening. Their mother had to be with them all the time, to take them to school and pick them up afterwards."
The twins’ lives took a new turn in 2012 when they were identified by the teams of the Association des Personnes Handicapées Motivées de Tône (APHMOTO), one of HI’s partners. The organization then began supporting the twins.
Yentougle and Yenhame have since benefited from medical support, with consultations and eye care planned and financed by the organization. HI and its partner have also provided them with white canes to help with their mobility and autonomy.
Both organizations also distribute food kits to the twins' family to help them overcome their financial difficulties.
Yentougle and Yenhame are enrolled in the local primary school. To help them study in the right conditions, HI has provided them with school kits containing clothes, bags, shoes and school supplies adapted to their specific needs.
At the school, Yentougle and Yenhame’s teacher receives technical support from HI. He has been trained in inclusive teaching techniques and methods to help him support the twins with their learning.
Yentougle and Yenhame are also benefitting from personalized educational support from an itinerant teacher specializing in vision impairment and Braille. The teacher comes to their home several times a week to provide tutoring, transcribing lessons and help them do exercises in Braille.
Thanks to this support, the twins are making real progress at school. In June 2022, Yentougle and Yenhame successfully completed the first cycle and obtained their First Degree School Certificate.
Changing perceptions of disability
Awareness-raising activities have been organized within the community to combat stigmatization of the twins. As a result, the discrimination experienced by Yentougle and Yenhame has lessened. Today, the twins have made friends in their village and take part in the other children's games. Their friends often accompany them home from school.