Free to move around the school with ease
Noah is a 13-year-old boy, doing his grade six at Senondary Primary School in Gwanda, Zimbabwe. Noah has a physical disability and uses a wheelchair. Noah said that since he started learning at the school he had so much difficulty moving around the school, as most of the ground surfaces were uneven and rocky and most classrooms had steps. He had to be pushed around all the time and lifted by his classmates to access the classrooms, the toilets, the administration block as well as the schoolyard. He said he used to feel bumps as he was pushed around the school on rocky pathways and as a result, his wheelchair had many dents.
Noah said being pushed on rocky surfaces and lifted by his colleagues all the time he had to enter the classroom, toilet or administration offices used to make him uncomfortable as he did not like feeling helpless by having to be pushed around. “I used to feel that I am bothering my friends, even though they always seemed eager to help me around”, he said. He also said that at times, he would use the teacher's toilets in the administration block as the path leading to them was better than that leading to the pupil's toilets. However, he still reports that he was not happy with the arrangements as he wanted to be able to access the pupil's toilets like all his other classmates.
The CS WASH Fund project with World Vision Zimbabwe has built paths leading to the classrooms and the pupil's toilets and some ramps to many classrooms in the school. Noah said since this work was done, he is now able to easily move around the school, with very little assistance. He says, he can wheel his wheelchair around the school, including to the toilets and administration block. He says he no longer has to use the teacher's toilets but uses the pupil's toilets like all the other children. “It used to take a long time for me to go to the toilet but now it's so quick because of the smooth paving. I am happier now as I feel like all the other children, not being lifted into class and to the toilet, and not having to bother anyone”, he said.