Building an inclusive community to help keep kids in schools

Stories | January 12, 2021

CBM Australia’s Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) projects changed lives in Ethiopia. Through targeted awareness raising activities, building of strong referral networks and changing attitudes towards health in rural areas of the country, hundreds of children and adults were enabled to continue their education and livelihood activities, ensuring their ongoing quality of life.

Tinsaye was one such person. Born with congenital kyphosis, left untreated she faced a lifetime of pain, including difficulty walking and urinating. Beyond this, she faced stigmatisation by the community due to lack of understanding and awareness about disability. This lack of understanding put a strain on her family when her father blamed her mother for the ‘curse’ that caused his daughter pain. Her mother, not knowing what else to do, moved to another town in hope of more acceptance and to protect her daughter. As part of the project, trained CBID staff were undertaking a household survey and met Tinsaye. The project staff were able to support Tinsaye and her family in understanding the physical cause of her pain, referring her for surgical treatment and rehabilitation, which improved her functionality.

By removing the stigma that Tinsaye and her mother felt due to lack of understanding, Tinsaye was able to attend school. Without access to education, Tinsaye’s future would look very different with limited opportunities. Tinsaye’s mother acknowledged this point, thanked CBM and the project for the support and shared her regret that lack of understanding of both herself and the wider community could impact so negatively on people with disabilities and their opportunities.

CBM acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

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