Sonia, hard of hearing: “My future depends on going to college!"
Sonia, 19, is visually and hearing impaired and attends a college adapted to her disability where she is studying for a diploma in hospitality. She is afraid that the COVID-19 pandemic will affect her plans for the future.
Sonia discussing with her former sign language teacher | © HI
Sonia lives with her mother and seven brothers and sisters 30 kilometres from the country's capital, Ouagadougou, where she is studying hospitality. During the academic year, she lives with a host family next to her college.
Her family is extremely poor. Sonia's mother grows vegetables on a plot of land and breeds a few animals. She extracts sand and gravel to sell in the city. Her brothers and sisters work in the fields. Sonia also helps with the peanut crop when she is living with her family.
Going to college and learning a trade
Sonia will soon earn her diploma in hospitality, but her classes have been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her school was closed for two months and now she is worried about her future:
Sonia often has problems communicating with her host family in Ouagadougou. The family goes the extra mile to make her feel welcome, but they find it quite hard to communicate because no one in the family knows sign language.
Obstacles to self-reliance
Living in a big city like Ouagadougou, where the traffic is very busy, is a challenge for Sonia. She's afraid to travel around alone, without help:
School closure: future in jeopardy?
Schools and colleges were closed for two months to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic and have only just reopened. Sonia's was no exception.
After her diploma, Sonia plans to make her dream a reality by setting up and managing a small restaurant.