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Testimony of Hadjara

Written by Fati Yabilan, Linking, Learning and Amplifier Officer in Niger.

My name is Hadjara, mother of twins with Down’s syndrome.

My daughters are my fifth childbirth. And I didn’t realise the implications of being their mother. At first I took it with faith, because I know several households that had no births, while I already had four children. For me there was no reason to complain.

It was when the inappropriate comments about my daughters started that I realised how difficult it is to be a mother of a child with Down’s syndrome. The comments and looks in themselves do not affect me; it is much more the status of their authors that creates the effect.

This situation has caused me to be defensive all the time, hunting down any wrong word or look to defend my daughters. This has made me aggressive, and worse, my daughters replicate my behaviour in similar situations.

Jumelles et leur maman

While I kept telling myself that I was allowing this behaviour to protect my daughters, I knew that this was not how I wanted to raise them. It was with this in mind that I met VALT 21, at the launch of their activities on World Down Syndrome Day. I immediately felt like a family. Mothers of children with Down’s Syndrome who have lived the same experiences as me and who share them. I wondered how they manage to talk about it?

Thanks to the activities that VALT organises, I was able to control my reactions. In particular, the outings with the children, the learning sessions at the school “Les petits câlins”. All opportunities to exchange with mothers of children with Down’s syndrome. It is this sharing of experiences and our group discussions that have allowed me to put the negative behaviours of those around me into perspective.

I am happy to see my daughters enjoying playing or interacting with non-family members. They are making friends; they are blossoming. Of course I always wanted the best for my children and my daughters in particular, but I never thought I would see it, live it with them. Thank you to all those fighting to improve the lives of the most vulnerable. You are all they have.

mes filles en particulier, mais je ne pensais pas le voir, le vivre avec elles. Merci à tous ceux qui se battent pour améliorer les conditions de vies des plus vulnérables. Vous êtes tout ce qu’ils ont.


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