Neema Namdamu, 42, grew up in the village of Bukavu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where children with disabilities were considered a curse.
As a child Namdamu contracted polio, leaving her paralysed from the waist down. Her neighbours advised her mother to do what they felt was the "right thing": to leave the child alone in a hut until she died of starvation.
Dr. Anne-Maria Brennan loved science as a young girl. But instead of encouraging her, those around her made attempts to steer her in the "right direction". “The right direction was in nursing, teaching and secretarial courses. I was told that girls do not study physics,” she tells IPS.
Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh knows that his country is in need of an education system that is, “innovative, based on universal principles and values and adaptive of the local realities”.
Fihima Mohamed’s mother never attended school and until two years ago she could not read or write. Mohamed’s mother had been born in neighbouring Somalia but was sent to Djibouti as a young girl to live with her aunt. The expectation had been that she would have a better life by escaping the ongoing conflict in her home country at the time.