40 year old Fatia Ibrahim deserves to be honored as a strong woman who is using her experience, to encourage other women in similar shoes. As a parent, it is not an easy task to raise a child living with disability, leave alone accepting the fact that there is a disability case in your house. Some women go to the extent of abandoning their other duties so as to fully attend to the needs of their special children.
It is equally challenging for those with no or limited resources to seek medical attention and/or afford to pay helpers to take care of their children as they are out working.
Fatia, is a mother to an eight year old boy, living with disability. She against all odds has strived to ensure that her son doesn’t lack anything, and doesn’t feel neglected as are a majority of children living with disability. She narrates:- “My son was born in good health. He was a healthy, happy boy and everyone in the family enjoyed spending time and playing with him as he is the youngest. However, when he was about 18 months old, he got sick and up to date; doctors have never established what led to the illness. He lost his walking ability and his health deteriorated each day. We sought treatment from all doctors we could reach, but all we got were false hopes that it was a temporary condition. However, it got worse each day. That’s when the truth dawned on us! Our boy was not getting better and we could only accept and pray that he gets better. As a mother, this was not easy at all, but then as they say, women’s role in any family is to be a pillar, I had to be strong for my husband and our other children. Something very important I noticed is that, at the point I accepted my son’s condition and stopped crying each time I looked at him, the rest of the family did the same. Years later, we still love our boy the same and we enjoy taking care of him each passing day. I would take my son for therapy at BabaDogo slums, where Ruaraka Uhai Neema team of therapists offers free services. In my interactions with women who have children with disability, I see myself in them. Most have never accepted their children’s condition, and blame themselves for their children’s condition. I decided to use my interactions with them to encourage them into accepting their situation and loving their children. By accepting and loving your child and treating them like any normal child, even the community around you does the same. Some would hide their children at home and not take them for therapy. I am happy that as I tell them my story, and how accepting my son’s condition has helped my family, many women have changed their perception and this in turn has improved their children’s condition and well being. What I went through especially in the first years is something I wouldn’t want other women to undergo and so I use every opportunity to encourage and give talks to parents with children living with disability.”
Fatia’s son will soon join school and she believes that despite the hope that one day his boy will get better, his disability will not prevent him from achieving his dreams and growing up to become a blessing not only to his family, but to the society. “Despite everything, all children are equal and as parents, we should love them equally and wish them the best.” Fatia concludes.
Here at World Friends, as the world marks International Women’s Day, we say that each of us can be a leader-just like Fatia, within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate parity for children living with disability.