The real life has started for Tamana, 13 years. Last time I met her was in January. She was about to leave the SCA school for children with disabilities in Mazar-e-Sharif, to be transferred to an ordinary school.
Tamana and her brother, both deaf, were excited at the prospect of soon begin at a regular school. But their mother was worried. Being a teacher herself, she knew that children with disabilities often are bullied by other children, and even teachers have prejudices.
This time I meet Tamana in the playground at her new school, Bukhdi girls school in Mazar. And I’m of course curious to know how she is.
-Everything has gone well for me. My brother is in another school and he is also fine. Mom is not worried anymore, says Tamana, with the help of a sign language interpreter.
Both the principal and her teacher certifies that Taman is a good student. But she admits that it’s not easy to be a student when you can’t hear. Tamana makes efforts to read the teacher's lips and read what is written on the blackboard. Neither is it easy to keep up with the games in the schoolyard, so she prefers to read and draw. The other girls have discovered her talent when it comes to drawing, and hand over their writing books to Tamana so that she can draw something for them.
A few times a month, a resource person from the SCA Disability Programme visit the school to help Tamana and three other students who need support. This is of course a welcome visit. And if SCA had the possibility to hire more resource persons, so that they could come more often, Tamanas’ life in the school would become a lot easier.
SCA is responsible more than 1 300 children included in regular schools in the three provinces covered by the office in Mazar. But there are only 26 resource persons that can support these children.
Despite the difficulties, Tamana have got a chance that very few children with disabilities in Afghanistan could even dream of. Most children with disabilities never attend school. Often they are trapped and isolated at home, because families are ashamed of having a child who is different. Tamana got the chance to change her life, and she is really making the most out of it.