"One day I will be a teacher"

Olivier shows Justin the new words he has learnt to spell using sign language.

Being part of something - that is inclusion. CBM CBID work ensures that the quality of life of persons with disabilities in the community is improved and that their needs are taken into account.

Olivier, a 15-year-old boy with hearing and speech impairments, sits under the big tree reading his school notes. The temperature is 39 degrees Celsius and most of the children have escaped the heat to sit in the shade of the trees or in their huts.

Olivier looks up, sees a man coming towards their house and runs to meet him. The man is Justin Balbara, a community-based rehabilitation worker with CBM's partner CODAS CARITAS. This is in the village of Kering in the North Cameroon region. Olivier lost both parents when he was a baby. He was raised by his aunt Fanta.

"I realised Olivier was deaf when he did not respond to sounds like other children. He did not speak either. There is no hospital in our village and the nearest one is five kilometres away. When he was a child, I took him to the hospital, but they could not help him there either," Fanta says.  When he was six years old, Fanta tried to enrol him in school. The schools in the village rejected her request.


"It is very difficult to find a school for children with disabilities like Olivier. I did not know what else to do and just left him at home, constantly worrying about his school future. He was also too young to learn a trade, like my eldest son who is also deaf.

Fanta's neighbours told her about a man, Justin, who educates families about disabilities and refers them to service providers. She sought Justin out and told him about Olivier. Justin taught Olivier sign language and worked to get him enrolled in school.

"When I started teaching Olivier sign language, he learned quickly and told me he wanted to go to school like the other children in the village. I went to the primary school in the neighbouring village and lobbied for him to be admitted there," says Justin.

After two years, Olivier now attends an inclusive boarding school with the support of a CBM-funded project run by CODAS CARITAS. Olivier reads Justin's lips and smiles when he talks about his progress. Olivier signs back at Justin: "I like school and one day I will be a teacher."

Being part of something - that is inclusion. CBM's CBID work ensures that the quality of life of persons with disabilities in the community is improved and their needs are addressed. CBM also ensures that any support, for example in hospitals or schools, is inclusive and equally accessible to all.

CBID Report 2022

Read more of these testimonies from beneficiaries of our CBID projects around the world and learn how Community Based Inclusive Development changes the lives of persons with disabilities. 

Download your copy here