Portrait of Bernice
Deaf and a girl – doubly disadvantaged

There are around 200 million children that have different abilities in the world. Many of them are treated badly by society, and are hidden by their families. Girls are especially vulnerable.

 

“Boys are always treated better than girls here in Ghana. Girls have to do everything at home and work much harder than boys. We wash dishes, cook, clean... everything! Boys hardly do anything.
If a family is poor they always choose to send their son to school and not their daughter. Deaf children don’t count in a family. If a family’s first child is deaf, usually that child doesn’t get to go to school, regardless of whether they are a boy or a girl. Any siblings born later who are able to hear can go to school but not the deaf child. If the family is poor, the parents often force any children with disabilities to go begging. Children who are not disabled are loved by their parents. Deaf children, or children with any other disability, often get beaten. Since most people don’t learn sign language, we can’t make ourselves understood. We are excluded. As a deaf girl, things are extra tough. We are definitely last in line for school. Since deaf children are often not permitted to go to school, we are left alone at home while our parents work and siblings who can hear go to school. That is much more dangerous for us girls than for boys. Since we can’t hear, men can come into our homes and take advantage of us.

The Globe teaches me about the world
I would rather be living at home in my village with my mother than at this boarding school. But I come from a little village four hours’ drive from here. I am a member of the WCP Child Rights Club at school, and by reading The Globe magazine I have learned that every child has a right to go to school – even those with hearing impairments or other disabilities. I didn’t know that before. The Globe is fantastic! I learn about the world and about my rights, and reading about brave people who fight for our rights makes me happy. We had our Global Vote today, and it felt great to show my support for someone who fights for our rights!

Bernice, 15, a member of the WCP Child Rights Club at Sekondi school for deaf children in Ghana

 
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