Uma is a 15 year-old Nigerian girl.
She is pretty as a picture and not a lot different, emotionally, from any of our granddaughters. There are some other differences, of course – she has never gone to school and her family is not much involved in her life because she is a polio survivor.
Her crippled legs prevent her from doing any work so she can’t help with the family income. She spends most of her day begging in the street with the other polio survivors, but none of that has diminished her smile or her hope to one day go to school, become a doctor and have a family.
This is Uma after she received her wheelchair – about a year ago – see what I mean about her smile. Is this not the picture of a girl who might just get what she hopes out of life.
Well, she is going to school now – the school is 13 miles from her family’s hut, but she can get herself to the bus and from the bus to school every day. She attends regularly and her new found mobility has changed her family’s attitude as well.
Her mother is supportive of her schooling because they can see she will be a financial contributor in the future.