|Category:||Education for all|
At 7 years old, Grace, who has cerebral palsy, was unable to sit up unaided and could only say one word "Mama". Her mother loved her daughter dearly, but caring for her daughter who no help of specialist support was desperately hard.
Grace's mother could not work as Grace needed constant care. They struggled on what support Grace’s uncle could provide.
Because of the stigma surrounding disability in their community in Tanzania, Grace’s mother had to cope with hostility from her neighbours. She weeps as she remembers. "Many said that Grace was a nuisance. Why don't you kill her, just choke her, was their advice. I could never have done that".
Support and education
A turning point came when they heard about CBM's partner and Grace joined their Community-Based Rehabilitation programme. A specialist outreach worker visited regularly to help Grace and her mother.
After two years of physiotherapy and support, Grace could sit up, feed herself and indicate when she needed the toilet. She received a specialist wheelchair and, thanks to support from CCBRT, she now attends pre-school.
At first, the teacher was reluctant to have her: "I work here alone and I had never seen anyone like her before", she says. "But meanwhile I get along pretty well with Grace. She is such a friendly girl and really eager to learn".
It's not easy for Grace to get to school - her mother and uncle have to carry her much of the way in her wheelchair. But now she is joined by some of her school friends on the journey. For Grace's mother, it's a relief to know that her daughter is making friends, while she can work to support them both.
"I can work on the field now to earn some money. I know that Grace is well looked after in the Kindergarten. The children there like and accept her, play with her. "