When Excellent is possible, Good is not Enough

Thursday 29 December 2022

Tesmesgen standing in his classroom

“My name is Temesgen. I am 12 years old. I was born with a disability on my right leg.  This has affected me in so many ways. First of all it has affected my movement and it has also caused social exclusion especially from the family level”.

Born in a town in the Afar district, the northeastern region of Ethiopia, Temesgen,  is now a grade 5 student at an Elementary School.  The young boy faced bullying and discrimination from an early age. Nevertheless, his family rallied around him encouraging him to follow his dreams, go to school and have an education.

“At first, the things my family have prevented me from participation was education.  I was not allowed to participate in the school; but  one day our cousin  came  from the capital to visit us. He saw my condition and told my dad that my future will be better If I go to school; now, my parents and both my brother and sister are my biggest supporters. They are the joy of my life” Temesgen said 

Temesgen  started to walk with a walking stick at the age of six. After a number of practices, he  was able to stand by himself and even walk short distances.  Despite the physical challenges, he does anything not to miss his school. 

“I love going to school, even though the trip is tiresome for me. One day I will become a doctor and a respected citizen” He said. 

Temesgen walks for more than an hour every day to go  and comeback from school through the harsh weather of the area which sometimes reach as high as 50 degree Celsius. His father , the breadwinner of the household is a poor farmer and couldn’t have much to give to his children. 

Asked about how he feels when staying at school:

“ Ohhh now everything is good. Before, there were no school meals, I would come home from school feeling hungry but there wasn’t anything for me to eat. I didn’t feel like going back to school the next day. Now that I have lunch at school it is easy for me to finish the whole day as I am not feeling hungry. The school meals are also delicious. Above all, the school community and the people in the neighborhood have started to show us (students with  disability) love and respect”. He elaborated. “my school result is improving; it is good for now, but good is not enough, excellent is possible”

“With the assistance of the project, our school  took on a community sensitization programme where parents and the school community were invited to hear about how all children, with or without disability , have the right to education” said Habib, the principal of the Primary School. 

 “We talked openly about disability with parents and informed them that we are working hard to make the school environment more friendly to students with disability(SwD) by availing services such as special latrine services; the teachers who received the disability inclusion training from the project are here to support the SwDs” Habib concludes. 

Habib is very thankful for the support that his school is getting from project (CHILD-SFP). The project is implemented in 13 districts of five regions reaching more than 163,000 target beneficiaries. Save the Children in partnership with Ministry of Education, regional education Bureaus ,woreda education offices and the Ethiopian School Meal Initiative is a local implementing partner of the project. CHILD-SFP is generously funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

Written by Abdusemed Mussa