Nyaduoth, 16, has newfound freedom with her tricycle, along with the chance to go to school. She serves as a shining example to her fellow Nguenyyiel refugee community that with access, anything is possible.
"My life was bad before I met the Humanity & Inclusion team," Nyaduoth says. In fact, she doesn't really like to think about it.
The young girl could not move on her own, was not allowed to go to school, and her own mother believed her disability was a curse from God. Nyaduoth comes from Ochom, a town in South Sudan, and has been living in Ethiopia’s Nguenyyiel refugee camp for several years.
Her life changed when she first got a wheelchair from Humanity & Inclusion and then a tricycle—finally she could move around freely. The Humanity & Inclusion team later convinced her mother that children with disabilities should enroll in school. Thanks to psychosocial support, Nyaduoth has gained more confidence. She's also made friends. She helps her church community and, to her mother’s delight, is a diligent student.
Nyaduoth participates in all of Humanity & Inclusion’s community awareness raising events for disability rights and inclusion, where she boldly shares her own experience. She also works in community outreach for another organization, teaching people in the camp best hygiene practices.
She could only crawl across the floor, whether it was dry as dust or muddy. Going to the bathroom was especially difficult. Nyaduoth’s father died when she was 3, and her mother felt her child was a burden. The local school did not accept her either. Nyaduoth had no opportunity to interact with other children, to learn or to make friends.
A wheelchair from Humanity & Inclusion was her first step toward independence. Next, was training her family and community in understanding that Nyaduoth has the right to choose her path in life, and that children with disabilities must have equal rights, not be discriminated against. Nyaduoth received psychosocial support, a barrier-free toilet and a hand tricycle, with which she can be mobile all by herself.
“Thanks to the tricycle and the support of Humanity & Inclusion, I developed my self-confidence and can now ignore the barriers of my disability,” Nyaduoth explains.
Today, she is a role model for anyone living with a disability. She appears at events and shows that education with a disability is possible. And, her mother no longer equates disability with incapacity.
"I am so happy when I see my daughter moving independently from one place to another," says the mother of seven children.
Her daughter is growing just like all the other girls in the camp. Nyaduoth has a boyfriend, and the young couple has promised to get married and take care of one another.
Image: Nyaduoth sits in her hand-operated tricycle outside her home in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Copyright: Till Mayer/HI