Persons with Disabilities of Cameroon: Ernestine

October 15th, 2016 by | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

During the last seven months of my Peace Corps service, I am featuring photographs and stories of several persons with disabilities living in Cameroon. All the photos are part of a series called “Persons with Disabilities of Cameroon.” The goal of presenting photographs and their stories is to create better awareness about the plights that persons with disabilities face in a developing country. When I return to the US, I hope to exhibit this series in a gallery and publish a book to educate others about persons with disabilities living in developing countries as this topic is so rarely discussed in the media.

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Ernestine has Down Syndrome. She is a hair dresser, although she is still in training, and works in a beauty salon.

“She was staying in home all day and doing house chores. She has never been to school. I talked to her parents and explained to them that she has Down Syndrome like my son. They didn’t know she had Down Syndrome. They thought she was being a witch. They believed me because they saw the kid I’m giving to my son. When I told the parents that she can do something and so they believed me and I brought her here because her home is not far from the beauty salon. She does hair dressing and embroidery for Bamenda dress. She has been in training for over a year and I’m taking care of the bills and she likes what she is doing. On a good day, she gets four customers to do hair but on some days she gets nobody. She lives with her parents. The beauty salon is owned by an embroider who is training her,” said Antonia, a mother of a young boy with Down Syndrome who took Ernestine under her wings and is caring for her.

“Do you like your work here?” I asked Ernestine.

“Yes,” she said.

“She has been very happy,” Antonia added.

“The fact that she has been able to leave the house and do something has encouraged other parents to think differently about their children with disabilities. And they always appreciate for what I’m doing for her and others,” Antonia said.

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