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Help Students Who Stutter in East Africa
$765 raised
77% of $1k goal
22 contributors
4 Days left

Let me introduce myself:

My name is Dieudonne Nsabimana. I am the Coordinator of the African Stuttering Centre in Rwanda, a small nonprofit organization that advocates for people who stutter in Africa. I am also a person who stutters. Because stuttering is stigmatized in Africa, I became an activist to fight for the rights of children who stutter.

My commitment to children who stutter is not a coincidence. When I was a child, I was victimized because of my stuttering. I clearly remember an episode that happened when I was in grade four. We were requested to memorize some poems. When my turn came to read a poem aloud, I could not repeat it due to my stuttering—it was a real torture for me. My teacher thought I did not memorize it, so he hit me. I lived in this horrible situation for a long period of time.

These schools are still places of humiliation for children who stutter, and I want to change that. That's why I started the “Resources on Stuttering School Program.”

What is the problem I am addressing?

In most East African countries, a great number of students who stutter drop out of school. Although there is no formal survey of the prevalence of stuttering in Rwanda, it’s estimated that up to 5% of children will stutter at some point during their development. Children who stutter struggle in school because of widespread ignorance about their condition. Not only do they not receive the support they need to succeed, they are also frequently subject to physical and verbal abuse.

There is a complete lack of knowledge among teachers about stuttering—they don’t know how to help students with communication disorders. Mathias, a teacher in northwestern Rwanda, said, "I did not know what I should do when I have a child who stutters in my class." In addition, there are no speech-language pathologists in East African schools who can help students and teachers understand the problem and manage it more effectively. Most of these countries lack access to the Internet, especially in rural areas. Therefore, rural communities and schools (around 70% of schools) cannot access online educational materials on stuttering. As a result, students do not receive the support they need to succeed in school. One can only imagine the confusion, fear, anger, and frustration that these students experience.

In addition, children who stutter drop out of school due to physical and verbal aggression from their teachers. In fact, most teachers in our region use corporal punishment when a student hesitates to answer a question; this includes hitting pupils with a stick, their hand, or another object. What is absurd is that there is no law against such a dangerous and unacceptably cruel practice. In fact, in some East African countries, national regulations explicitly allow corporal punishment and teachers are allowed to hit pupils. It’s completely illogical! Schools should not be places of fear and violence, but this is the reality for students who stutter.

How is my program solving the problem?

To prevent and combat the bullying and victimization of young children who stutter, my teammate and I have translated and printed educational materials (booklets and brochures) on stuttering from The Stuttering Foundation of America. These materials are compiled into a package called "Resources for Stuttering - Teacher Package.” This teacher package is then made available to teachers free of charge.

Our purpose is to help teachers and children to have access to materials on stuttering, thus allowing them to develop knowledge about stuttering and to learn to help each other. Furthermore, teachers will acquire the necessary skills to better assist students who stutter in the classroom.

Teachers can do a great deal to help students who stutter. Because the teacher's attitude about stuttering and the example they set in the classroom will influence, to a large extent, the attitude of the other students, teachers will also influence how students who stutter react to their own speech.

Just imagine—if only one teacher becomes aware of stuttering, how many children will have their education saved? Many children! Every year, a teacher receives new students in their class, among whom are students who stutter, and these students need the help and support of the teacher.

What is the money for?

This program is not-for-profit and does not receive any public funding. We are pleased to offer free educational materials on stuttering (our translations). Yet, there are costs involved in printing and binding the booklets, as well as fees for distributing these educational materials.

That's why, every year, I run a fundraising campaign to cover our operational costs. My annual goal is to equip 50 new rural primary schools with our translated educational materials on stuttering. To meet this goal, I need to raise $3,800 USD.

Although I have organized this crowd funding campaign every year for the past 3 years, I have never reached our annual target of $3,800 in our previous fundraising campaigns. For this reason, I would like to set a modest initial target of $1,000 this year, which will allow us to equip 10 new rural primary schools with educational materials. These 10 schools serve roughly 5,000 students and 120 teachers. Just imagine the change that will occur in these students’ lives when their teachers are better equipped to help them!

The money we collect goes directly into printing and distributing educational materials for teachers. A small donation can go a long way! The chart below shows what we can accomplish with some suggested donations.

Contribution

                         Result

$10

Educational materials for 2 teachers

$20

Educational materials for 4 teachers

$30

Educational materials for 6 teachers

$50

Educational materials for 10 teachers

$100

Educational materials for 1 school

How can you help?

You can help by:

  1. Donating directly to our fundraising campaign a contribution of $10, $20, $30, $50, $100, or whatever you can afford to help us meet our goal of $1,000 and equip 10 rural elementary schools with educational materials on stuttering.
  2. Fundraising for us and inspiring your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to join you in supporting the African Stuttering Centre’s “Resources on Stuttering School Program."
  3. Spreading the word about our fundraising appeal via social media.

Thank you for supporting us. Your support ensures that the educational materials we provide remain free to all.

Sincerely,

Dieudonne Nsabimana

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