by Dieudonne Nsabimana. Coordinator of the African Stuttering Centre
The purpose of this article is to shed a light on the challenges that African children who stutter face and to give some insights about our efforts for positive change. And it’s also to thanks the International Fluency Association (IFA).
The students of GITWE elementary school from African rural communities are happy
to receive the booklets on stuttering in the Swahili language, a widely spoken African language
Dieudonne, with young children who stutter living in rural areas, who are happy to read booklets on stuttering in their local language
Students with educational materials on stuttering in Swahili language, a widely spoken African language
Equip NYANZA elementary school libraries in rural areas, the booklets on stuttering
My name is Dieudonne Nsabimana, I am the Coordinator of the African Stuttering Centre (ASC) and Chair of an umbrella organization of people who stutter in Rwanda. Because stuttering is big stigma in Africa, I became an activist and I fight for the rights of people who stutter.
However, life of a person who stutters is always a struggle, but the life of an African child who stutters is even harder and a struggle that is, partly for cultural reasons, beyond imagination and yet, most of the world ignore this.
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Imagine, growing up in a world where you lack the very basics of life. Beyond that, in most African countries, especially in rural areas, there is no electricity supply and no internet connections. Therefore, rural communities (mostly, with 70% of population) cannot access to online educational materials available on stuttering. The teachers, students and parents are in a total blackout as far as the related problems are concerned. One can only imagine the confusion, fear, anger and frustration involved.
Imagine, in this 21st century, due to a lack of information, some people from some rural communities in Africa, practice old age stuttering treatments. By cutting the membrane beneath the tongue (lingua frenum).It is believed to be involved in the appearance of stuttering.
Imagine, in this 21st century, African children who stutter living in rural areas have the profile of children targeted by accusation of witchcraft. According to a UNICEF study, called” Children Accused of Witchcraft”.
Imagine, in this 21st century, in African rural areas, children who stutter would prefer to drop out of school, because of the teasing from their teachers and classmates.
What is the solution?
To find a solution, we have translated from English to Swahili language (a most widely spoken African language) the educational materials on stuttering from the Stuttering Foundation. And we would like to equip African rural elementary schools with these translated educational materials on stuttering.
Our purpose is to help children and teachers to have access to materials available for them, thus helping them to develop knowledge about stuttering and to learn to help each other.
Furthermore, teachers will acquire the necessary skills to better assist, in the classroom, students who stutter.
The educational materials on stuttering of our translations into Swahili bring information into areas where there has been no access before. And help children, teachers and parents to take responsible action by: changing attitudes toward children who stutter, changing attitudes towards teasing and obsolete treating techniques.
However, we greatly appreciate community support and the generosity of individuals to help us reach our goal of raising $8,995 to equip 100 African rural elementary schools, with 60 Booklets per school.
My deepest thanks to IFA
The Executive Board of the International Fluency Association has agreed that the IFA will contribute $1,000 to my initiative. It is demonstrated their deep commitment to my initiative of translating the educational materials on stuttering in African languages, printed and freely distributed to light up our communities. Thanks to the International Fluency Association (IFA).