Suppressed by illness
Behind these eyes lies a story of an amazing, ambitious child who wants to reach out to the world through his intelligence. This is a very curious child who has been suppressed by his family and everyone around him just because of his illness.
I was giving a lecture while working at Zhian Health Organization raising awareness about how to stop violence against females. At the end of the lecture some kids joined to play with the colors and paints. This brilliant, innocent child came to stand by my side and smiled at me. I was like, OMG, you have curly hair like mine!
After a while of playing I asked him whether he went to school and how old he was. He told me, “I don’t go to school even though I am 11 years old because my mom and family think I shouldn’t go to school since I am sick.”
I asked him to take me to his mom. When I met her I asked her the reason behind their refusal to send such a smart child to school. She said they are afraid other children or teachers may harm him at the school since he is physically weak. This cute child has mild hydrocephalus (which is a congenital disease of having excessive cerebrospinal fluid in his head).
His hydrocephalus caused him to squint. Also, he has atrial septal defect which is an abnormally small opening in between the atrium. This child was so very smart he could recall everything I told him! I asked his mother to visit me at the clinic the next day. When she showed up the next day she said, “My son didn’t stop reminding me to visit you the whole day” (she had brought him with her).
He told me, “doctor you said come with your mom so that we could go to school. Doctor please I really want to go to school, please convince my mom.”
After lots of advice and assurance that his medical problems shouldn’t stop her very smart child from pursuing his education, his mother was convinced. I wrote a medical report for TDH and the school explaining this child’s condition and how teachers should care for him and pay more attention to him.
I also stated he needed to avoid excessive exercise and that they should keep an eye on him to prevent other kids from bullying him. My recommendation was accepted by TDH but sadly, the school did not agree to admit this smart, yet “different” child.
I couldn’t do anything more regarding his situation, other than asking the mom to home teach him. But let’s face it, living in refugee camps and in such crude situations together with having lots of family members in one tiny tent, there will most certainly be huge obstacles for educating this child.