A woman in her mid-forties has cried for help as her child with Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum, Speech defect and learning disability has dropped out of school as a result of inability to pay school fees.
Mrs. Franca Anaedum, in an interview with BONews Service narrated her ordeals to ensure that her son is able to access education with the aim of creating a bright future for him.
“Often times, people think children with disabilities should not get educated but that is not right, if they are educated, they will grow to become responsible adults.
“This is the understanding that I have that has made me to put in all efforts to put my boy in school, but it has been overwhelming as the school fees is extremely high and I can no longer afford it,” Mrs. Anaedum narrated.
According to her, “the cost of paying school fees for a child with intellectual and developmental disability per term is 170,000 so per year is 510,000.
“I’ve been working tirelessly to pay the fees over the years, but it has become a burden and depressing.”
When asked the reason the child is not in any of the Inclusive schools in Lagos State, she narrated that, “he was formerly in an inclusive unit but it was far from home and there was nobody to take him home after school because my place of work was far from his school.
“There was a time he got lost and someone found him at Aguda, Surulere, it took a lot of intervention to get him reunited to us and to avoid subsequent cases, he was withdrawn.
“There is an inclusive unit close to our house at Sari Iganmu but he couldn’t go there because the place is jam-packed and students barely learn as there are no adequate personnel to teach them.
So, it was more like he wasn’t learning anything and that’s why I decided to take him to a private school which has a boarding facility,” she added.
Speaking further on how she has sourced to help her child and other children with intellectual disabilities in her neighbourhood, Mrs. Anaedum narrated that, “as a mother of a teenage boy with downsydrome, autism spectrum, speech impairment and learning disorders, it was hell managing my son and I discovered that there is no much information or where to go for information.
“Most homes around focus on the early childhood education but no plans of training or developing them into independent adults. Most of them are relegated to nothing so no one cares to send them to school and their parents cannot on their own foot the bills of their school fees hence special schools are always costly due to the process involved.
“So, I decided to set up an organization that provides support systems for parents and their disabled children. In 2017, I set up a non-governmental organisation known as Centre for Intellectual and Special Needs Support (CISNS) to facilitate support to children with disabilities, counseling, training, empowerment, and feeding for PWDs, caregivers and or parents,” she added.
She also noted that some of the parents who are members of the NGO have withdrawn their children from school while some are struggling to pay school fees.
Mrs. Anaedum thereafter appealed for support from philanthropists, organizations of persons with disabilities and the government to assist CINS and parents, especially as regards to increasing access to education for children with disabilities, to enable them become responsible adults.
“I will appreciate whatever help and support I’m able to get, for my son’s school fees so he can return to school and also for other parents in my shoes. My account detail is Franca Anaedum – 2013494971 – UBA”