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Promoting Girl Child Education.
Monday 18-Jan-2021

14-year-old Idowu is on a quest to be an orthopedic doctor. Ironically, Idowu, a young girl with a physical disability requires mobility support to move around. She says her disability influenced her choice of future ambition.

Idowu’s mother, Mrs. Awosanya, recounts how her journey began ‘‘I realized Idowu wasn’t crawling at 7 months, and at almost a year, she wasn’t lifting her legs either and that was when I began getting worried. I begun the visit from one hospital to another, seeking help for my child. My husband struggled to fund the hospital bills from his meagre salary, so we indeed tried our best but at 2 years old, a doctor confirmed she would never be able to walk and that was when the reality dawned on my family. Sadly, my husband died in October of this year, 2020 after a brief illness.’’

Sharing her experience raising a girl child with a disability she said, ‘‘I raised her like I would any other child she did her chores, played and got registered in school at the right time. Although, it is easier for me when she just stays at home than going out, especially when she must go to school because she would need help. When she was younger, I carried her with ease to school but as she grew older, we began moving her around on a bike that we hire.’’

Idowu, although seemingly shy, interjects to say ‘‘but there were more days I missed school because my parents didn’t have money to pay for the transportation. Up till now, sometimes I still miss school for the same reason. It is also the 3rd year I stopped eating breakfast at school because of my inaccessibility to the school toilet. Because of the landscape of the school, which is badly damaged from erosion, the use of a wheelchair is near impossible. So, I use the wooden walking aid. The height of the balcony leading to the classrooms and toilets is also high and I would require one or two persons to lift me or carry me through which I do not like. To avoid the constant support of people carrying me to the toilet, I stopped eating and drinking before going to school and while in school.’’

In commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disability on the 3rd December 2020, ActionAid Nigeria and her partner, Human Development initiatives (HDI) celebrated the day with children at a junior secondary school in Alimosho district, in solidarity with the students with disabilities in the school. Besides, the provision of refreshment to the children, ActionAid Nigeria also funded the construction of a ramp to aid the movement of the pupils with disabilities to their classrooms and toilet.

Sharing her excitement to the announcement, Idowu said ‘‘the ramp will help me access the toilet in school especially during my periods. I will now be able to have my breakfast and bring some snacks to school without the fear of toilet accessibility.’’

Mrs. Awosanya has now happily committed to ensuring that Idowu goes to school every day since the financial burden of her educational needs has been lifted off her.

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