At Sibusiso, we regularly see parents denying the seriousness of their child's situation. That is why it is important that we not only work with the children but also with parents and possibly grandparents." Barakaeli Mollel, social worker at Sibusiso, has the floor.
"In my work I am very committed to Ridhwan Abdi; He was 3 years old when he came to us under worrying circumstances. Ridhwan is originally from Sumbawanga, in the Rukwa region. The majority of people in Sumbawanga believe in witchcraft and this boy's parents were no exception. When the family moved to Arusha, it wasn't long before the neighbors began spreading rumors that the family were wizards. This caused a lot of unrest in the family with the result that the parents separated. Now it was up to the mother to take care of her family. Living conditions deteriorated rapidly and Ridhwan became malnourished with his disability. It was not an easy task to convince Ridhwan's mother that her child is not a victim of witchcraft. With a personal and intensive approach, she eventually succeeded in participating in the individual program that was used for him. Ridhwan (pictured in the wheelchair) is now 7 years old and he is getting ready to go to school. His father now supports him too".
Barakael Mollel concludes: "Ridhwan's situation was difficult for me personally because of my background. I come from the Maasai community and we are known for sticking to ancient traditions. There was also no acceptance of children with disabilities among the Maasai, but a lot has changed in recent years. As Maasai, we fight for the rights of people with disabilities and we now know that we can help with the right treatment."