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Sierra Leone: HI makes schools accessible to children with disabilities

Inclusion
Sierra Leone

Fatmata, 15,  has motor speech difficulties and uses a wheelchair due to a physical impairment. Thanks to Humanity & Inclusion's intervention, a lot of adaptation work has been done to Fatmata's school to make it accessible to children with disabilities.

Fatmata and peers going for a lunch break together

Fatmata and peers going for a lunch break together | © Massaquoi/HI

Fatmata, 15,  has motor speech difficulties and uses a wheelchair due to a physical impairment. Her parents get very low income from helping others in farming activities.

Fatmata had not been attending school for most of her previous school years because she had no assistive devices, and her former school environment was not accessible; there were large steps with no handrails, narrow doorways, and inaccessible toilets facilities for people in wheelchair…  

Adaptation work at Fatmata’s new school

Thanks to Humanity & Inclusion (HI)’s intervention, a lot of adaptation work has been done in the school where Fatmata is now going, including the construction of ramps. An accessible toilet with sufficient internal space and grab bars was built, and the school was painted to improve colour contrast for visual accessibility.

The buddy system

Fatmata is supported by one of her classmates who serves as a buddy in school. She helps her around school and helps to interpret what Fatmata is saying when needed.

“The school is more beautiful than my previous school,” said Fatmata. “And now I can move comfortably with my wheelchair on the ramp. I can even go to the toilet all by myself, because the door is wide and the space is big enough.”

Her mother confirmed :

“Fatmata is always excited to go to school and her performance has greatly improved. Her teachers always check on her when she is absent from school. I am delighted she came to this school.”

Fatmata said she has a lot of friends in school and has dreams for the future.

“I want to be a nurse when I finish school,” she says.

Date published: 22/11/21

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