Drop-in Centre

 

Handicap Solidaire Burkina (HSB) believes that it is vitally important, for the social inclusion and well-being of disabled people, that those living with a disability and the families of those affected by disability have adequate access to a structure of support, advice and information so that they are fully aware of disability rights and have access to mechanisms of coping with the challenges associated with disability. HSB therefore runs a drop-in centre to support those living with a disability.

>Roles of the drop-in centre:

  • Personal health advice and referral of individuals with significant problems to the relevant health authorities.

  • Counselling activities, including counselling disabled people facing social problems such as confidence, self-esteem etc, as well as advising parents of disabled children of their responsibilities towards their children.

  • Providing career advice and support, in terms of scholarships, internships, jobs, apprenticeships etc.

HSB’s drop-in centre works to develop relationships with partners to be able to offer these services.

HSB recognises that disabled people, and children in particular, are the most marginalised group within Burkinabe society. This makes the drop-in centre at HSB an invaluable resource in the fight to advocate for the rights of disabled people and educate people on disability.

 

HSB's Drop-in Centre 

Below are two case studies of disabled children helped by HSB’s drop-in centre…


 

Case Study: — Child S (2010)

 

S was born with a disability called AMC. When S first came to HSB’s drop-in centre she was only 6 years old.

When S was younger her parents were ashamed of her and used to hide her from the other parents. It is the mindset in Burkina that when a person is disabled they look like a snake, and this is what happened with S: her parents thought their daughter looked like a snake and didn’t love her.

When S was very young her parents tried to kill her by putting her in the toilet hole and leaving her to die. However, S started crying and, because her parents didn’t want their neighbours to hear her, they decided to take her out.

After the first attempt failed, the parents then went out into the bush to leave S there. But, after a while, her mother felt bad and came back to get her.

It was only when the parents saw an advertisement for HSB that they came into the drop-in centre. To start with the parents thought HSB was like an orphanage and that they would be able to leave S there. At the time, S could not speak and wasn’t able to tell her side of the story.

When Nathalie (Juridical Adviser) and Sidonie (then-Adviser and current Assistant Programmes Coordinator) were able to speak to the parents, they were able to change their mindsets, telling them the rights of a disabled person and that their daughter could live a normal life like other children. Since the parents have visited the drop-in centre, they have begun taking care of S. They take her to school and allow her to play out with the other children. They are no longer ashamed of her and now treat her and love her as a daughter.

Before the change in mindset, the parents used to pity people with disabilities. However, since then the parents now have a good relationship with Nathalie and Sidonie and other disabled people. S and her parents often visit HSB and are always happy to see Nathalie and Sidonie.

S used to be constantly sad. However, due to the change in mindset, her parents have begun to take care of her and she is now happy.

Both Nathalie and Sidonie are very satisfied and are happy to have helped S. They both have a good relationship with S’s parents. Thanks to HSB’s help, S is now happy, the parents are happy and Nathalie and Sidonie are happy. Everyone wins.


 

Case Study 2: — Child C (2011)

 

C was born with a condition on her head and back like acne but a lot bigger and her legs were tucked up behind her body. C was only 6 months old when she first came to the HSB drop-in centre.

When C was born she was sad and crying all the time. Her mother was afraid and ashamed of her due to her condition. The other women used to laugh at C and because of this the mother wanted to get help.

C’s neighbour had a disabled child who was blind and had severe physical disabilities, and who was already attending the HSB drop-in centre. The neighbour was able to tell the mother about the great work they do at HSB and offered to take C and her mother there.

When C and her mother visited the HSB drop-in centre, Nathalie and Sidonie told her mother that it was a disability and they advised the mother to see a doctor. The doctor was able to diagnose the disability C had and was able to arrange an operation for her.

The mother found this difficult due to both her and her partner being very poor and so they couldn’t afford the operation. However, HSB were able to help with the money for the operation.

The operation on C’s back was very successful.  However, the operation for her head had to be postponed because she is still very young. C still goes for frequent check-ups and if her head stops growing there will be no need for an operation. Since the operation on her back, C has begun to walk, sit and has even begun playing with other children because they are no longer scared of her.

Since the drop-in centre visit and the operation, the mother is now very happy with C. The mother now sees disability in a different light and the work of HSB has changed her mindset. The mother still has financial difficulties but at least now she is happy because there are no problems with C.

Nathalie and Sidonie keep in contact with C’s parents and have a good relationship with them and C.


 

If HSB’s Drop-in Centre could give more parents information and the chance to change their mindsets, then a lot more disabled children and people in Burkina could be helped. There are over 200 children that have been helped by HSB, and S and C are just two of these children.

However, HSB needs more funding to be able to carry on this important work.

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