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MRS Traoré

Because my daughter live with stuttering, I was separated to my best friend .

My friend thinks that my daughter will contaminate her daughter. She have negative attitude towards my daughter. She refuse her daughter to play with my daughter.

We had quarrel about her behaviour. Since that I no longer visit her. 

Henry

Henry is a child who is 10 years old. He lives in Ouagadougou (Capital of Burkina Faso). He is the youngest son of a family of 8 children. In Africa, that means he was always treated special by all members of his family.

He has stuttered since he began speaking. His stuttering is very serious. He worked very hard in elementary school, but had to repeat CE2 (the 4th class after beginning elementary school).

There is no compulsory education in Burkina Faso. Last year during Christmas break, he decided never to return in school which was a surprise to his family. His parents tried to understand what had happened, but he refused to tell them his reasons.

His parents tried everything they could think of to persuade him to return to school. His father, despite great poverty, brought Henry a bicycle which is a precious gift that all children would like to have, but only wealthy parents are able to buy one for their children.

Henry's teacher and several of his friends tried also to persuade him to return at school as well.

As their efforts failed, his parents was obliged to accept his decision.

During the school holiday in July 2001, Henry decided to tell the truth to his mother. He told her that because of his stuttering he was teased and bullied at school. So, in order to not be teased and bullied he decided not to return at school. He said that if he was to return to school he wanted to change schools.

This year he went to a new school. He tells that the situation in this new school is better than the last school.  

Poda

Poda is a old man who has lived in a village in the southern part of Burkina Faso. He has stuttered since childhood. His stuttering is so serious than he can take 5 minutes to get out a single word.

In Africa old men are very important in towns and villages. They protect traditions and custom against bad aspects of modernity. Their presence is obligatory during all special events such as baptisms, marriages, and funerals.

Unfortunately, Mr. Poda, because of his stuttering, is forgotten by everybody. People say that they are afraid to meet him since he takes so much time for a conversation. Some people tell that just to answer "Hello," Poda at times can take 30 minutes.

Poda is very frustrated. He told me that only the fact that suicide is prohibited in his society keeps him from ending his life. According to him his life is worthless and he has lived in isolation.

He also told that it caused him great joy to learn about our new self-help association for stutterers.. He stated that he is aware that he is old and perhaps will die soon, but he encourages our association in all our activities in order to keep other people from suffering like him.

These stories show that the problem of stuttering is as acute in Africa as on other continents. Our new self help association's task will be difficult but is also very important . In spite of the difficulties involved I feel it is a duty for those like me who had a chance to go to school in our poor country to work in order to help people