Girl Child Education, unique care

Transforming Lives: How Kaleri Junior Secondary School is Empowering Students With Special Needs

Hafsat Babagana, 18, was barely 8 years old when Boko Haram attacked her village in Bama, displacing her and forcing her to seek refuge in Muna camp in Maiduguri, Borno State. Like many girls, Hafsat faced numerous challenges with her education, but her case was particularly dire.

Diagnosed with cataracts by the age of 2, her vision problems severely hindered her ability to attend school. Instead of learning, her family spent years searching for a solution to her condition. It wasn’t until she was 14 that Hafsat could even start school. Despite her determination, she often missed classes due to her eye issues, and when she did manage to attend, she struggled to keep up because she couldn’t see the board clearly.
For five long years, Hafsat struggled with her vision, causing her to frequently miss school and fall behind in her studies. Her dream of education seemed increasingly out of reach, until her school (Kaleri Junior Day Secondary School) through the cash prize won from the spelling bee and mathematics quiz competition organized by CASFOD, stepped in.

Hafsat was provided with an assistive device (corrective glasses) that transformed her life, enabling her to attend school regularly and engage in her studies without difficulty. This support rekindled her hope and determination, which allows her to finally pursue her dreams with confidence.

Early this year, Hafsat’s school emerged third position at the finals of the spelling bee and mathematics quiz competition, winning a cash prize of 100,000 naira. Demonstrating its commitment to inclusivity, the school used this prize to support girls with special needs.
“The girls have been battling these challenges for quite some time, which has hindered their school attendance and performance. We see this as an opportunity to assist them and alleviate their situation,” says the principal of Kaleri Junior Secondary School.

“It was really challenging for me. I could barely see what was written on the board, and whenever I looked at it for too long, my eyes would start hurting,” Hafsat shared, lamenting her condition. “I couldn’t copy notes or read properly because of my eye problem. Sometimes, I felt discouraged from attending school because it was so difficult for me,” she added, tears welling up in her eyes.
Hafsat wished she had assistive devices to help her cope with her condition and attend her lessons without missing classes due to pain. “I am passionate about school. I wish I could get better or at least have things that would ease my condition so I can attend my lessons and become someone better in the future,” she said.

Amina Yakubu faced immense challenges from a young age. Raised in a lower-class family, her struggles were compounded by her inability to walk. When she was just 2 years old, Amina began exhibiting symptoms of poliomyelitis. “It was a fateful morning when Amina suddenly started showing unusual symptoms, unresponsive reflexes, severe fever, and uneasiness. Seeing her condition, we rushed her to the hospital where doctors diagnosed her with polio. Initially, we couldn’t believe it and thought it was something spiritual. A few days after bringing her home, she could no longer stand, her condition got worse, and that’s how we ended up here,” her parents recount. Despite these overwhelming obstacles, Amina’s story took a hopeful turn thanks to this initiative by her school which provided the support she needed to continue her education and strive for a better future.

“I am so grateful for this. With this crutch, I can now walk freely and easily to school. This has been incredibly helpful for my studies, and I believe I will be able to improve now. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the school management for this assistance.”