While being carried on her mother’s back at the age of three, Gloriose and her mother were shot during the Burundian civil war. Gloriose’s left leg had to be amputated due to her wound becoming infected.
Now 20 years old, Gloriose wants to become a nurse so that she can improve the way people with disabilities are treated in clinics and hospitals.
Her mother, who also has a disability as a result of the shooting, lives in the remote area of Cibitoke province. Gloriose moved to Bujumbura to live with extended family in order to study, but feels rejected by her extended family, who treat her differently because of her disability. She feels alone and suffers emotionally, in addition to the physical pain caused by her old prosthesis.
When Françoise, a peer-support worker, visited her, she didn’t want to speak to her at first. She said, “Many organisations came to speak to me, but never did anything afterwards so I was tired. But I saw that Françoise also has a disability like me, so I decided to give her a chance and speak with her… Now I am happy with Françoise’s visits: I feel less alone and I have someone who to discuss family issues with.”
The attitude of Gloriose’s extended family has also improved with the visits.
Gloriose is now starting 10th grade. Her studies have been frequently interrupted due to a lack of funds. Additionally, due to her broken prosthesis, attending school is hard because she sometimes falls on her way. She also has sores where her prosthesis rests on her thigh and has to miss school because she is in too much pain.
Despite these challenges, Gloriose is a talented pupil, coming third in her class last year. She wants to continue her studies and become a nurse. She feels that people with disabilities are not treated properly in medical facilities and would like to contribute in her own way in changing that.
Tears come to her eyes when she remembers the moment which has motivated her to become a nurse. After her amputation, the stitches had to be removed from her thigh, but the doctor told her to remove them herself. It was so painful she couldn’t bear it. She does not want other children with disabilities to go through experiences like this. Talking with a peer-support worker helps Gloriose find the strength to keep moving on towards her dream.
AOAV’s work in Burundi is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by the Australian Government, AusAID.
AOAV supports victims in partnership with the Training Centre for the Development of Ex-Combatants (CEDAC).
Did you find this story interesting? Please support AOAV's work and donate.