Jun 26, 2012

Togo: Relieving disabled children from crippling customs.

LOME, Togo (IRIN) – Out of fear, shame and strong traditional beliefs, disabled children in Togo are often ridiculed, hidden indoors for years and neglected, cutting them off from normal life and worsening their plight.

“I was told I was good for nothing. Even my brothers and sisters said I was inferior to them, and they mocked me,” said Sofia Adama, 18, who was left disabled by a botched injection when she was a baby.

Between five and 10 percent of children in Africa have disabilities, mainly due to genetic and birth complications, diseases such as poliomyelitis, measles, meningitis and cerebral malaria, as well as poor health and diet, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).