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"Thanks to HI's awareness raising activities friends and colleagues no longer belittle us"

Inclusion
Togo

Damigou is a young woman with vision loss. Thanks to the inclusive education and vocational training project in Togo, she was able to attend school and now works as an accountant in a pharmacy.

Portrait of a young woman posing in a pharmacy, with shelves full of medicine boxes. The young woman wears glasses and smiles at the camera.

Damigou is 25 years old. She is has a visual impairment, but thanks to HI’s inclusive education and vocational training project, she was able to go to school and is now working as an accountant in a pharmacy. | © S. D. Songoi / HI


Damigou’s story

Damigou has had problems with her eyesight since she was in Year 6 at school. Her head teacher noticed that she had started to have trouble seeing the blackboard, so he put her in touch with APHMOTO, an association that supports people with disabilities. Thanks to APHMOTO and Hyumanity & Inclusion, she received the glasses she needed and was able to renew them regularly. Damigou was therefore able her to continue her studies.

Damigou tells us that she often felt inferior at school because of her disability. Her classmates used to make fun of her. But she proved wrong all those who tried to discourage her by saying that people with disabilities could not succeed in their studies or careers.

Damigou was never discouraged; she pursued her studies with fierce determination. Today she is 25 years old and works as an accountant in a pharmacy, an achievement of which she is very proud! The support of her parents, APHMOTO and HI were decisive in getting her where she is today.

Initially, Damigou aspired to become a doctor, but eventually she opted for accountancy. In five years' time, she hopes to become an entrepreneur and be in a position to help people with disabilities gain access to education by providing them with the support they need, including financial support. Her aim is to help them to realise their dreams, just as HI and APHMOTO helped her to realise hers.

Inclusion in places of learning

For Damigou, it is crucial that parents of children with disabilities do not neglect them, but encourage them to attend school and support them so that they can continue their studies and look forward to a promising future. She also stresses the importance of making learning environments inclusive to facilitate access for people with disabilities and prevent them from feeling ignored or marginalised.

For example, when Damigou was at school, HI organised disability awareness-raising sessions for pupils and parents, which considerably improved the young woman's situation, as she felt accepted at last.

Damigou has one last thing to add:

”I want to tell the whole world not to push people with disabilities aside, because we are humans too, just like them.”

HI's inclusive education and vocational training project in Togo will run until 2025. In 2023, HI supported more than 2 000 children with disabilities in primary and secondary education, trained 116 teachers in inclusive teaching methods, raised awareness of disability issues among nearly 17 600 parents and community members and supported more than 100 young people in their professional training and integration.

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