Under the trees in the playground of Ephphatha Neema School in Bukavu, DR Congo, 22 deaf students are participating in their first Global Vote. They are well prepared.
“Before voting we read all the stories in The Globe carefully. We older children helped the younger ones by translating from French to sign language and explaining properly, to make sure everyone really understood,” explains Mpasa.
Mpasa, 17, explains why the Global Vote means so much to them: Deaf children like us are very vulnerable here. It’s like we don’t exist. Sometimes we don’t even get our own names, we just get called by our surname. Parents think their deaf children are stupid. That’s just how things were for me. My twin sister, who can hear, could go to school and learn to count and write, but I had to stay at home. When I was ten, I started looking for a school that would accept me, and I found this school for deaf children. But my parents refused to let me attend. So I sneaked out every morning. Now my parents are really proud of me.
We read The Globe in school every morning. I can really relate to the stories of vulnerable children’s situations all over the world. I found out that the way disabled children are treated here in DR Congo is wrong. The Globe says that all children are equal and should be treated well. Here, our rights are violated all the time. I want us to continue reading The Globe so that we learn more about our rights and about how other children live around the world. That way we can grow strong and fight together for all children to have a good life.
Today we voted in the Global Vote and it feels fantastic! Imagine that, the chance to vote for people who fight for a better life for us children! Before voting we read all the stories in The Globe carefully. We older children translated from French to sign language for the younger ones.”
em>Text: Andreas LönnPhoto: Paul Blomgren