“The time had finally come to end stigma and social isolation my hearing and partially visually impaired son had been facing for the last nine years. A watershed moment I and my entire family is reborn,” says Amu mother of Bahar, who is unified with the community he had abandoned from ever since he was four.
Being born to hearing parents, Bahar as the first hard of hearing person his parents have ever met was taken as bad fortune both by his family and the rest of the community. His family used to hide him so that his case is kept among the family. Mohammed never got the chance to do what his peers do because of his impairment.
Bahar says, “I used to feel that no one loves me including my parents like they love the rest of my siblings. I had to stay home while my family goes to visit relatives. Children didn’t want to play with me and I wasn’t given the chance to attend school. I was so sad every time I saw children going to school. I used to cry my heart out day and night being alone. ”
No one considered looking for solutions to help Bahar with his condition up until imagine1day happened to his life with hearing aids that enabled him to rise up beyond his challenges.
“I cannot describe the mixed feeling of joy and regret I am feeling right now. I am so happy that my child is able to make it. At the same time, I regret all those years he is belittled and denied the attention he deserved for something that was not his fault. I wish I could undo what he has been through given he was too young to bear the unbearable,” says Amu emotionally.
Bahar is making the most out of the opportunity he has been given. He is a 1st round speed school student. He wants to be a doctor when he completes his education.
“I enjoy going to school. I am able to make friends – we play together during break. I am comfortable with the fact that I am considered like normal kids. Afan Oromo is my favorite subject for it is the easiest. I love the ‘A B C D’ song the most. I want to be a doctor to cure children with disabilities like myself. I want to say thank you imagine1day for giving me this opportunity,” says beaming Bahar.
Bahar’s family are supporting him so that he doesn’t get left behind either by the exclusion by the community or inadequate support for learning.
Amu says, ”Not everybody is equally aware of disability and the school environment may not be considerate to a person with a disability. There still could be a denial of inclusion and equal opportunity but we will be there for him. I have a message for all parents who have “disabled” children, please wake up at the right time not to regret it like me. Treat your kids equally and give them everything you can no matter what they face. I thank imagine1day for changing my family’s life.”