Following multiple bouts of severe malaria, Sougleman, 8, lost much of her sense of hearing and ability to speak. “Despite the medical care, my daughter was left with permanent disabilities,” says Nagwabe, Sougleman’s father. “Suddenly, she could not hold an object with her hands like she used to. She did not hear much anymore and she was no longer able to speak.”
Once one of the most talented students in her class in Tandjoaré, Togo, Sougleman had to leave school for more than a year because of her illness. At home, she could not communicate with her family and she was totally dependent on others. However, her father, also a teacher, believed in her ability to go back to school and succeed in her studies.
Thanks to an inclusive education project launched by Humanity & Inclusion and its partner, Educate A Child, Sougleman was able to return to school. She received lessons in sign language and is being mentored Damipi Lamboni, a special needs teacher who works with children with hearing and intellectual disabilities.
Lamboni tutors students and helps them with homework. He also trains teachers in sign language so that they can communicate directly with students without hearing. This support had a huge impact in the classroom for students like Sougleman.
"I am very pleased to see positive changes in Sougleman,” says her teacher Koffi Kombate. “She is more involved during lessons and better included by her classmates. In many ways, she is ahead of many of the students without disabilities.”
"My wish is that she continues and succeeds in her school career,” says Sougleman’s father. “I am very optimistic.”
In addition to supporting special needs teachers like Damipi Lamboni, Humanity & Inclusion and its partner Educate a Child help children with disabilities and their families by connecting them with rehabilitation services, medical care, and other support. The organization also works with the government and local communities to promote the inclusion of children with disabilities in school.