In developing countries, 90 per cent of children living with a disability are excluded from education, which means they have little chance of escaping poverty. For Imran, the gift of a wheelchair has been life-changing.
Throughout his childhood, 13-year-old Imran would watch other children in his village run and play. He wished he could join them, but his condition made it impossible.
“I wasn’t able to do things without help from others. I used to feel very sad.”
Imran is unable to walk or use his hands. Prior to receiving a wheelchair, getting to school was an enormous challenge and often left him too tired to keep up during lessons.
With ChildFund Sri Lanka providing Imran with a wheelchair, his lifestyle has been transformed. Not only can he now attend school, but Imran has a newfound sense of independence, and can socialise more easily with his peers.
“I really like my wheelchair, actually I love it. Because of the wheelchair I’m now able to do things more easily than before. I can go for a bath. I can even go to see the beautiful places in the village. I can do most of my things by myself.”
With ChildFund’s support, Imran attends a special needs school. Here, children are taught vocational skills, in addition to reading or writing skills, depending on their abilities.
“I had two dreams for a long time, one was to repair our broken-down house, the other was to have a wheelchair. One of my dreams is now real.”
While thankful for his own wheelchair, Imran is conscious that many more children are in need of the same support. He explains:
“It has made life easier for me. I hope that other children like me, who have difficulties walking, will be able to receive a wheelchair.”
Today on December 3rd, International Day of People with Disabilities, ChildFund is celebrating the work that goes towards ensuring excluded children are supported to reach their potential.