Espa˝ol / Franšais
Select a child to find out more
Keabetswe, Botswana Leeda, Cambodia Ali, Jordan Himal, Nepal Martha, Sierra Leone Ishen, United Kingdom Nodira, Uzbekistan Yuleini, Venezuela
© UNICEF video

Nodira, which means 'unique' in Uzbek, is one of five children in a poor family. Every morning, after reciting her prayers, Nodira feeds the hens and goats from her wheelchair. The rest of her day is spent knitting for other people and helping her mother with the household chores.

Nodira has never been to school because it is too far from her home and inaccessible for her wheelchair. A local teacher used to come and tutor her at home and, as a result, she was able to finish third grade. After that, her parents moved to another town and the tutor's visits became more sporadic.

Despite the many difficulties and frustrations that plague Nodira's life she is fortunate to be living with her family. The stigma attached to children living with disabilities, combined with the lack of wheelchair access in schools and the economic difficulties faced by many Uzbek families following the collapse of the Soviet Union, have led many parents to place children with disabilities in special institutions. In fact, of the 23,000 children in institutional care in Uzbekistan, 19,626 have disabilities.

These days, Nodira does homework exercises at home and reads as much as she can. Still, it is unlikely that she will be able to finish her primary education, much less attend university. While missing out on an education is a great disappointment to Nodira, her greatest wish - a true friend - can still come true.

"What I want more than anything is a friend who also has a disability," she says. "Somebody to talk to that will not feel sorry for me or make fun of me, somebody who will understand what my life is like."