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A tale of hidden talent – deep in the desert

By: Rahina Balarabé, “Belles-echos” project manager

This is the story of a woman called Carhie and her two daughters. They lived in the big and beautiful village of Kofoy. Kofoy is located between the river and the desert. It is a flourishing village with many inhabitants and rich cultural diversity.

Carhie is a strong and beautiful young woman who despite her obstetric fistula problem, was raising her two daughters alone. She has the kind of love that only a mother can have and the courage of a warrior going to battle.

Her first daughter Gouda is visually impaired and her sister Biyou is deaf.
As the years went by, Carhie’s daughters grew older and their physical differences in the village became more apparent. Both the mother and her daughters found it increasingly difficult to thrive in the once beautiful village. Discrimination and exclusion is not an easy environment to live in. Carhie decided to move from this ignorant village. She had had enough.

They walked for a long time in the bush. They crossed the desert and arrived at the edge of a big pond, they decided to stop and build their hut right there.

The family settled in into their new place and were going about their daily lives when one day, something happened that would change their lives completely.

They were out at the water hole washing when a stranger on a horse rode towards them. The stranger greeted them as the horse bent over for a drink. Puzzled, Biyou didn’t answer back while Gouda gave no response to the strangers’ extended hand for a handshake.Then the stranger asked their mother why her daughters are non-responsive? Carhie then told her their story.

The stranger is Oralité Plus, an Innovate and Learn grantee for Voice Niger. Oralité Plus travels from village to village to unearth the potential talents hidden among those who are often left behind.

For Carhie and her daughters, the meeting with Oralité Plus stirred their creative side. They found their Voice through the artistic training from Oralité plus. They became storytellers, puppeteers, painters, draughtswomen and craftswomen!

Their talents as artists shows itself in their work and slowly they are becoming the story of change that shows that disability is not inability.

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