By Karima Rhanem
Morocco World News
Salé-Morocco – Dahbia Haddad, a mother in her fourties, and her 7 year-old daughter Samia, fight together for the inclusion of children with physical or mental disabilities into society and more specifically into school.
Samia was born with a congenital disorder, a physical malformation recognized at birth, at the level of her hands and feet. Her mother was chocked as every parent who fined it difficult to understand and adapt.
The challenge of Dahbia and her husband was to understand their daughter’s situation to allow them find a better social integration for her.
“My husband and I were shocked when we discovered our daughter’s handicap. We had no idea what to do until one of our relatives suggested we should visit the information and orientation center for people with disabilities (CLIO) here in Salé;” said Dahbia, who explained that the center has helped her overcome the psychological shock and learn how to behave with her daughter.
The CLIO has helped Dahbia with medical and technical support. Yet, the mother needed to find donors to help her daughter walk with a prosthesis, a device used to replace her missing legs.
The prosthesis is according to Abderrahmane El Moudni, director of the center is expensive: “we have limited resources and our technical support is limited to our expertise. Social inclusion and medical support needs private and state commitment.”
In the center’s waiting room, Samia had something to do and was not interested in what’s going around her. She was fully concentrated on the computer, trying to use her missed arms to move the mouse.
Despite her young age, Samia seems to be generally aware of her situation. “I feel ok at school, I am doing my best to have good grades, my colleagues treat me well and they don’t beat me,” she told Morocco World News
Samia who wrote her name to us on a piece of paper using her feet, said that “she wants to be a pediatrician in the future to help kids who have problems like her.”
« All different, all equal in rights » : it’s with this vision that the center has been able to convince a public primary school to facilitate the integration of Samia in the normal non-special public school.
“Samia studies in an ordinary public school, the center talked to the teachers and her classmates to treat her equally to avoid any psychological complications.”
Dahbia and Samia have been consulting the center for more than 7 years now, like the so many people with disabilities who find it a refuge. The center, a project of Bouregreg association, has become the first unique one stop for listening to and offering technical counseling for people living with disabilities in the Rabat-Salé Zemour Zair region.
Not far from a center, another young energetic mother and primary school teacher, Zoulikha lazaar, whose daughter Bouchra suffers from autism, a neural development disorder, is also advocating for the inclusion of her daughter into school.
Conscious about the role that she needs to play for her daughter social inclusion, Zoulikha, has advocated before schools and raised teachers and parents awareness about the sensitivities around the issue of autism.
« We should raise awareness of schools, teachers, parents and officials to pay more attention to the kids suffering from these diseases. When I see the progress made by the Association Al Yosr here in Salé while treating my daughter, I think with much love, care, patience and commitment, we can overcome all together the society’ negative view of these kids,” stressed Zoulikha.
Boubria Zouhour, social worker at the association Al Yosr said that Zoulikha is one of the exemplary mothers who spare no efforts in advocating for the inclusion of kids living with disabilities. She is a brave mother who is not ashamed to say my daughter suffers from autism.
Boubria added that “her association is making a lot of efforts for these kids’ integration but without the commitments of their parents, their work would have no added value.”