Each morning, she packs her blue braille board into a bag and is collected by a woman who walks her safely to school. There, she joins her friends in the same lessons. When the other children raise their chalkboards in the air for the teacher to check their work, Aminata does the same with her braille board, allowing her work to be assessed in the exact same way. Here, Aminata is no different, and that instils in her a huge sense of confidence and self-worth.
“I want to keep going to school – I want to be a teacher and teach French. French is my favourite subject,” she says. “I like my teacher and I want to be just like her. She wears beautiful clothes. I know because I touch her clothes to find out.”
After school, Aminata plays at home with her large extended family, moving quickly and comfortably around the familiar environment, and jumping with ease over huge cracks in the ground. “Aminata is much happier now that she goes to school,” says her mother. “I hear her singing, and she brings things home from school, such as sticks to practise counting with. I want her to stay in school and learn a lot of things, so when she is older she can get a job and help to support her family.”
The benefits to Aminata in being educated alongside her peers are invaluable. Being part of the school, and learning with her friends, makes her feel included and valued, helping her to thrive and develop into a happy, confident child. A mural painted on the wall of the school says it all: “Mon handicap, ma motivation.”