Overcoming to Learn in Africa


Be inspired by a physically disabled girl who, despite tough obstacles, has great aspirations.

Each day, millions of girls around the world can’t step into a classroom. Instead, neglect, abuse, and poverty create seemingly insurmountable barriers to their education, resulting in about 496 million women who can’t read and write today. World Vision works in nearly 100 countries to help girls overcome these barriers so they can attend school, improve their lives, and help advance their communities. 

In Burundi, 16-year-old Jocelyn Ndikumana lost the use of her legs when she contracted polio at age 4. She also lost her parents, who rejected her because of her new disability. Her older sister cared for her, but didn’t want to send Jocelyn to school, despite her strong desire to learn. A neighbor took pity and helped Jocelyn find a local center for people with disabilities, which had partnered with World Vision and provided 100 children, including Jocelyn, with wheelchairs. While now in school, she doesn’t have any friends and still struggles with paying her fees—often receiving help from fellow church members and even the school director. Despite the setbacks, Jocelyn lights up when she talks about her determination to get an education. “I want to be a headmistress, if I get a chance to finish my studies,” she says. “I need a job where I will work sitting; my legs do not allow me to stand or move easily.”

Written by Kristy J. O'Hara

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