Mujyambere’s hope through Shyanda Inclusive Child Friendly School
By UNICEF Staff writer
2012- Mujyambere is a 16 year old pupil who is blind. He studies in primary five at Shyanda Inclusive Child Friendly Model School in Murama Sector of Kayonza District. He is the second born of the family of three children. His mother died when he was young but remained with the father who has now remarried.
Mujyambere was born with normal sight and started school normally with other children of his age in 2002. In 2003 when he was in primary two, he suffered from menigitis resulting into visual impairment. In the beginning, he had low vision and continued with school. However, due to blurred vision, the parents embarked on searching for a cure in various forms, which included application of local herbs on the eyes leading to complete loss of sight. The loss of sight was worsened with the pain in the eyes which ended him in hospital where it was confirmed that the damage was irreversible. The eye balls had to be removed completely as a solution to ease the pain since they were not of use any more.
When Mujyambere’s eye balls were removed, parents lost all the hope for their son’s future. They accepted the impairment after a long time and tried to have him join a school for the blind but failed due to poverty as they were required to make some payment. As a result Mujyambere stayed home from 2003 when he dropped out of school untill 2009 when his father learnt of Shyanda Child Friendly Inclusive primary School from an association for parent with children with disabilities.
By then their home was in Rwamagana district but for the sake of his son, Mujyambere’s father made a decision to shift the family home to Murama sector in Kayonza district closer to Shyanda primary school. This home was also 6 km away to the school and Mujyambere managed go over hills and valleys with the help of his father. The family identified another piece of land in the vicinity of the school where they finally settled in 2011 and now Mujyambere walks unguided to school without difficulty.
In 2009 Mujyambere was enrolled in primary three at Shyanda Inclusive School. He was very happy to find a school where he could continue with his education. His teacher says that Mujyambere is very bright because he memorizes everything he learns in class and does not forget. The teachers used the skills learnt in braille during the Inclusive trainings for teachers conducted by ADRA-Rwanda and helped him to read and write. This helped him to be promoted to primary four in 2010 and primary five in 2011 respectively. He participates in games and sports especially the Dragon club which he likes very much for the exercise he is able to get. His father says he did not initially approval of his participation in the Dragon club but Mujyambere was so eager he finally relented. The club has greatly helped him physically as one can hardly recognize his disability when he is participating in the group.
Mujyambere is determined to pursue education to the end and his hope is to become a journalist. His parents say he is very informed about current affairs on radio and briefs his parents on what is going on. He also does some home chores like cooking and sweeping the courtyard. During holidays, he helps his father earn income by assisting him in his various income generating activities such as gardening and digging pit latrines. The father says that he sinks the pit while Mujyambere shovels the soil out of it but he ensures that he is standing on secure ground.
Mujambere says to interpret braille is his greatest challenge and finds writing easier than reading. While consultants have said it is common for all Braille beginners to experience difficulty in reading, nevertheless, Mujyambere is determined to learn it in order to achieve his objectives and wishes he had more braille reading materials in order to practice.
UNICEF has partnered with ADRA to implement the care and support package, part of the inclusive and protective measure for all learners project. Within this project, teachers in the 54 Child friendly schools have been trained to provide psychosocial care and support for learners with learning disabilities, including vulnerable children. Communities around these schools have also been sensitized to send their children to schools, including supporting these children to learn.