Sightsavers Reports

How an education project changed Mouhamed’s community

A young boy reading braille in a classroom.

Mouhamed is 14 years old and is in his first year at school. Before starting education, he would just sit at home, learning the Qu’ran or sleeping all day.

Now, thanks to a pilot programme run by Sightsavers and the Senegalese government to include blind and visually impaired children in mainstream education, he attends the Malik Diop school in Dakar, where he learns alongside his peers.

“I really like school,” he says. “Before, I was sad when everyone else went to school and I couldn’t go. I was always alone and I used to sleep a lot.”

Mouhamed’s best friend at school, Ibrahim, is also blind, and the two love playing football together, singing and helping each other with their braille. Mouhamed wants to be a carpenter like his uncle when he leaves school, making wardrobes and beds.

Mohamed walking with his aunt, Dione, who takes care of him.

A project to help the whole community

Mouhamed’s Aunt Dione explains that his parents abandoned him when he was younger, so she takes care of him. “Before he started school, he tried to play with other children, but they pushed him away,” she says. “This doesn’t happen any more. He learns lessons such as French and PE. I hear my child singing in French and it makes me so happy!”

Mouhamed’s education is not the only thing Dione is thankful for – Sightsavers also provides transport to take him to and from school. “Before we got help like this, it would have taken him an hour to walk there,” she says. “This project is helping not only my child, but the whole community. People here don’t really have time for others with disabilities. They say that even talking to them is a waste of time. I want this to change.”

Mohamed sits in the classroom reading braille.

All children deserve the chance to learn

Our pilot project is helping 141 young blind and visually impaired children to get an education and realise their full potential, but there is a lot more work to do. There are 800 million people with disabilities living in developing countries. Many face stigma and discrimination on a daily basis and they are often unable to access services such as education, which should be everyone’s right.

For people like Mahoumed it’s the difference between going to school with his friends and dreaming of becoming a carpenter, or sitting at home with no education, and little hope of a job.

Want to read more about our work?

Inclusive education in Senegal
Mohamed raises his arms and smiles.

“This project is helping not just my child, but the whole community.”

Mohamed raises his arms and smiles.

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