“I Was Unable to Pay Le10, 000 for My Child”  

Katimu Sesay and her son Gbessay Sesay sell kola nut and locally-made soap at Mattru jetty. She is blind.
Katimu Sesay is a visually impaired mother of three. She sells kola nut and locally made soap at the Mattru jetty, southern Sierra Leone. She is always seen with her eight-year-old son, Gbassay Sesay. Gbassay’s future seems bleak because her mother cannot afford to send him to school.

Sesay told Concord Times that her son stopped attending school because she was asked to pay Le10, 000 as registration fee which she couldn’t afford.

She says that even though she sells kola nut and locally-made soap, she finds it extremely difficult to take care of the family, let alone pay registration fee for her son to start attending school.

Katimu, who was speaking to this medium last Friday (1st December) at the Mattru jetty, said she is married with three children.

“My husband is sick and has been taken to one of the riverine communities for herbal treatment. I am all alone with the three children. If I don’t go out in the morning to sell kola nut and soap, all of us in the house will not survive,” she told this reporter.

According to her, she has made several attempts to send the boy to school, but to no avail.

She narrates that she became blind as a result of measles when she was a toddler. Despite her predicament, she insist begging on the streets has never being an option.

Faced with harsh reality, she decided to step into the shoes of her sick husband in providing food for the family.

Although many visually impaired or disabled persons could be seen begging on streets in big cities across the country, she has decided to maintain her dignity even in the face of vulnerability by hawking, instead of begging, to eke out a living for her and the family.

She says 8-year-old Gbessay has been very supportive, not least at a time when the economic hardship is hitting her entire family very hard.

Katimu, in a state of melancholy, called on well-meaning Sierra Leoneans and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs and the Disability Commission to provide her with some amount of money as safety net to set up a small business to sustain her family.

Concord Times, December 6, 2017 By Joseph S. Marga

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