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Teachers: Citizenship: Globalisation Social

Last Updated: Monday February 27 2006 13:17 GMT

Case study: Ibrahim from Sierra Leone

Ibrahim from Sierra Leone
Ibrahim, who lives in Sierra Leone, has been writing to his pen pal Kyle, from the UK, for three years.

They communicate using Braille typewriters as they're both blind.

They've have had the chance to meet up as their schools are twinned.

"Before having a pen pal in the UK, I had an idea that people in the UK would be friendly. I thought it would be good to have a friend there.

Beforehand, I didn't know anything about England but I imagined positive things about the country.

I thought there would be more opportunities over there than here in Sierra Leone.

The people in the UK are very hard-working and they encourage the children and women.

They have strict laws and everything runs well.

They also put each and every child to school which is very good.

Welcome drums

The first day I met Kyle in Africa was really great.

He was really excited because it is the first time he has been to the continent.

I was so happy he was happy to be in Africa.

We had a welcome party where we played some African drums and sang.

When I visited him in the UK, he really treated me well and I wanted to do the same for him.

Disability NOT inability

Being blind is a disability but this does not make it an inability.

The biggest problem in Sierra Leone is the attitude of some people and the bad acts of the public.

I don't blame them too much, as many of them are not educated about what it is like to be blind.

I encounter prejudice in my daily life. Getting around is often difficult and it is very hard to get someone to help you on public transport.

Sometimes people talk to the people I am with, rather than talking directly to me.

Change of heart

If I could change one thing about the way blind people are treated in Sierra Leone, I would change people's hearts and stop discrimination.

I think the government officials should teach people how to treat disabled people.

For example, they could broadcast something about how to deal with blind people on the radio stations.

They could also make some laws about the way to treat disabled people and fine people who broke them.

Music to help the nation

Through the exchange visits and letters to and from Kyle, I have gained a lot of experience and I hope to gain some more.

I also learned some Mathematics. Also, the Art and Music classes helped me to create many things, especially music. It will help me voice my words to help the nation."

Ibrahim, Sierra Leone

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