Girl de­nied ed­u­ca­tion due to dis­abil­ity

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

A 12-year old Khu­bet­soana girl has been stuck at home for the past four years, with schools in the neigh­bour­hood al­legedly re­fus­ing to ac­com­mo­date her due to her dis­abil­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to the girl’s mother, Ma­pu­lane Makatisi, none of the schools are will­ing to take the child be­cause she is wheel­chair-bound.

“The ex­cuse at one of the schools was that be­cause my daugh­ter is wheelchair­bound, she would not be able to move around be­cause classes are held on dif­fer­ent floors,” Ms Makatisi said.

“At an­other, I was told she could not be ac­com­mo­dated be­cause the road lead­ing to the school was in a ter­ri­ble state, and so she would not be able to ma­noeu­vre her wheel­chair.

“I am a sin­gle par­ent and un­em­ployed; my hus­band left when he re­alised that the child was dis­abled. Th­ese past four years have not been easy for me be­cause my child was sup­posed to have been at school but due to her dis­abil­ity, this has not been pos­si­ble.

“I can’t take her to a spe­cial school be­cause I don’t have the re­quired funds for her fees, so I am ap­peal­ing for help from well-wish­ers to make sure this in­no­cent child is not de­nied her right to ed­u­ca­tion.

“each time she sees the other kids go­ing to school and can’t join them, she is re­minded of her dis­abil­ity. I can’t bear to watch the suf­fer­ing on her face; it breaks my heart.”

Ac­cord­ing to Ms Makatisi, her daugh­ter was only able to at­tend a spe­cial preschool, and dropped out six months into Class One as she owed school-fees for one year.

“I was then lucky to have my daugh­ter ad­mit­ted at a gov­ern­ment school, where I didn’t have to pay any­thing, but my mother-in-law had a fight with one of the teach­ers over how the child was be­ing treated.

“I was told not to bring my daugh­ter to the school again, and she has been at home since,” Ms Makatisi said, adding when she sought help from the De­part of So­cial Devel­op­ment, she was re­ferred to the Min­istry of ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing.

“An Ed­u­ca­tion Of­fi­cer told me that there was no rea­son why my child could not go to a nor­mal school. But when I started look­ing for a place, that’s when I got stuck with ex­cuse af­ter ex­cuse about why she could not be ad­mit­ted.

“It can’t be my fault that my daugh­ter was born like this, and I don’t know why peo­ple would want to in­crease the pain by deny­ing her the chance to be with her age-mates at school.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Le­sotho Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Or­gan­i­sa­tions of the Dis­abled ( LNFOD) Projects Co­or­di­na­tor, raba­sotho Moeletsi, what this child has been go­ing through is un­ac­cept­able as the coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­tees the rights of ev­ery sin­gle cit­i­zen.

“We have the ed­u­ca­tion Act of 2011 which states that ev­ery child should have ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion.

“I wish the rel­e­vant gov­ern­ment de­part­ments could help Mrs Makatisi as she has been through a lot as she tries to get the best for her child,” Mr Moeletsi said.

Mean­while, the Le­sotho Times this week vis­ited two of the schools which al­legedly re­fused to ac­cept Ms Makatisi’s child.

At one of the schools, the prin­ci­pal said she was not aware of “such a case”, while there was no-one “au­tho­rised” to speak to the Le­sotho Times at the other.

There was also no im­me­di­ate com­ment from the min­istries of ed­u­ca­tion and so­cial devel­op­ment.

Ma­pu­lane Makatisi with her 12-year old daugh­ter who is wheel­chair-bound.

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