Three wheels to independence
16-year-old Nyadouth finds newfound freedom with her HI tricycle and access to education. She serves as a shining example to her fellow Nguenyyiel refugee community that disability does not equal incapacity.
Nyadouth (right) using the mobilising tricyle provided by HI, with her uncle (left). | © Till Mayer / HI
Nyadouth Goy does not even want to think about her old life. 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. Nyadouth comes from Ochom, a town in South Sudan, and has been living in Nguenyyiel refugee camp in Gambella Region of Ethiopia for several years. Her life changed when she first got a wheelchair from HI and then a tricycle - finally she could move around freely. The HI team then convinced her mother that children with disabilities should also go to school. Thanks to psychosocial support, Nyadouth now has much more confidence, has friends, helps her church community and is a diligent student - to the delight of her mother. She also works for another organisation as a community outreach worker teaching the people in the camp best hygiene practices and participates on all HI community awareness raising events for disability rights and inclusion to share her experience boldly.
Disability does not equal incapacity
"My life was bad before I met the HI team," says 16-year-old Nyadouth. She could only crawl across the floor, whether it was dry as dust or muddy. Going to the toilet was especially difficult. Her father died when she was three years old. Her mother had no time to take care of her and felt her child was a burden. The local school did not accept her either. Nyadouth had no opportunity to interact with other children, to learn or to make friends. A wheelchair from HI was the first step towards independence.
Next followed training for her family and her environment to make it clear that Nyadouth also has the right to a self-determined life, that children with disabilities must not be discriminated against, but have equal rights. Nyadouth received psychosocial support, a barrier-free toilet and soon a tricycle with which she can be mobile all by herself. “Thanks to the tricycle and the support of HI, I developed my self-confidence and can now ignore the barriers of my disability,” underlines Nyadouth proudly. Today, she is a role model for anyone who has a disability. She appears at events and shows that education with a disability is possible. Moreover, 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 woman who has six other children and has learned that Nyadouth is now so much more independent. Her daughter is growing just like all the other girls in the camp. Recently she got a boyfriend and the young couple has already promised to get married and take care of one another.