NEWS FROM LAURA I AND CRISTINA
This morning we have received news from Laura I and Cristina who are doing some brilliant work. The letter below is proof that fighting against discrimination and integrating is always worthwhile in spite of the dificulties involved and, Abugida is always a shining example of this with its special needs children.
The training of the special needs teachers at Akaki Mengist school has also been successful and everyone is very happy, teachers, children and their families.
Fighting for disabled and special needs people in societies where they are not easily accepted is an extremely arduous but gratifying task.
Jonas, the boy Laura mentions in her letter suffers from hemiparesis caused by cerebral palsy but he can walk and his hand is much better since he has been doing physio exercises for the last year. He is one of the children who graduated this year, he is on the right in the photo and is such a friendly and affectionate child.
It’s over to Laura, her letter gives us goose pimples. It’s a lesson in life.
The photo shows Laura and Cristina with the special needs teachers at Akaki Mengist school.
"The training finished on Friday, it’s been fantastic, we alternated lots of theory with practice and audiovisuals so as to portray the facts as clearly as possible and we have really been able to see in practice that they were taking it all in and they even took to improvising and creating their own ways of doing a certain activity. The families and children with intellectual disabilities came on Thursday, they expressed their gratitude and were very moved to see their children doing other things in addition to their day to day activities. Both the families and teachers hope that things will continue like this and they would like a contact person to provide reassurance and peace of mind if they have any doubts or just somebody to turn to and share their experiences with.
On Saturday morning the children at Abugida celebrated their graduation which was attended by families, volunteers and workers. There was no shortage of tears, smiles, performances, gifts and looks of appreciation and love.
Jonas got very emotional, today I’m going to make him a new SPLINT, his hand has stayed open but now he tends to turn it outwards from the wrist. We will need to buy him a more rigid boot to stop his foot from curving and to provide better support. Don’t you think that’s a great idea???
Wonderful to see Dagem’s mother at the ceremony. It’s beautiful seeing them together, they look so happy and they blended in with all the other families, there were no looks of pity or compassion or rejection from anybody – here, they were just like any other family. In Ethiopia, as in Spain, parents need to find out what is wrong with their child when they don’t see any change over a period of time. They can’t stop thinking that everything will change and will sort itself out. It is vital for them to know that their child has irreversible brain damage so that the mother and father can be realistic about their child’s condition, to come to terms with the fact that they can’t expect them to act the same as other children of their age, to realise that they will never be able to achieve certain skills, but to know that they will learn to do things, communicate and play in a different way. Dagem’s mother is glowing and looking beautiful and Dagem can smile every day, feeling safe, accepted and loved for the way he is, not for the way he was expected to be. The children from the nursery go and see him, greet him and give him kisses. He looks at them, smiles and listens to them. One of the new children with special needs, Tamrawit, has her bottom lip destroyed, she hears certain things but can hardly see. She responds well to sounds and games manipulation but something needs to be done about her lip, I have thought about trying a special kind of dummy or chew stick and I have asked Bea to bring with her a special one that I know. This is urgent because she is eating away her own lip through self-stimulation and being spastic" .