NIYONKURU Sulaiman, 15 years old
Sulaiman is Madina’s fourth child in a family of five.His disability did not appear until he was 18 months old. When he was born he looked like a normal baby but at 18 months he appeared to be in a kind of comatose state, his physical appearance deteriorating daily. Sulaiman’s mother, Madina, took him to a private hospital where they received medication. The treatment was unsuccessful and his condition declined. Several transfers and specialists later, Sulaiman’s condition was still not properly treated. Madina continues to support her son the best way she knows how, after being abandoned by her husband. Her husband completely blamed Madina for Sulaiman’s illness and promptly left. Madina even tried to teach Sulaiman how to walk, fighting for any way to make her son’s life the best it can possibly be. He is still unable to walk regularly, though sometimes he is able to get around moving short distances. Sulaiman can talk, but his words are slurred and hard to understand. Despite this he attends school and is in grade 4. He lacks the ability to write because he does not have fine motor control and has to memorize everything he learns at school.
Madina is extremely resilient. She relentlessly advocates and tries to educate her neighbors fighting the ignorance and prejudice in Bumbogo. Slowly, she has observed, the attitude of her neighbors is changing. She feels very proud and blessed to be a part of the group at the Center for Family Empowerment in Bumbogo, knowing that she is not alone has brought her peace. At the Community Center for Family Empowerment Madina finds inspiration to continue a life of advocacy. Sulaiman is also inspired by LWA’s work. When he knows his mom has to go to the Community Center he will wake her up and make sure she doesn’t forget to attend her meetings or trainings. He loves to talk about LWA’s work and shares with his neighbors and friends all of the benefits LWA has brought to his family. LWA is still seeking a way to find treatment for Sulaiman. He asks his mother every day when he can go to the hospital and get better, dreaming of finishing school and living a life like any normal teenager.Together, this strong family embraces their status and will never give up on their dreams of better days to come.