Melody was born with Cerebral Palsy. She was also born in Kibera, East Africa’s largest slum, in Nairobi, Kenya.
Despite her parent’s doubts she would ever learn to read and write, with the support of Little Rock, Melody excelled in her studies. She graduated when she was 11, ready and eager to enrol in mainstream primary school.
However, despite having all the necessary academic abilities, Melody was repeatedly refused entry to mainstream primary school, because of her disability. Desperately wanting to continue her education Melody asked to attend a ‘special-needs’ boarding school. Daunted, yet seeing no other alternative, Melody moved away from her home to the new school.
Almost immediately upon arrival, Melody described heart-breaking daily bullying, ridicule and isolation from staff and fellow students alike and quickly begged her parents to allow her to return to Little Rock. Little Rock agreed to continue educating Melody and started a primary education class, which other children who had also been denied access to primary education because of their disability joined too.
This experience inspired Melody to campaign for the rights of children with disabilities. She joined the local Youth Parliament and met with officials to convince them to change policies and practices in Kenya. We then worked with Melody and Little Rock to design a project that prepared local primary schools to accept students like Melody, train teachers and advocate for the inclusion of all students.
Today, after a long fight, Melody is finally happy and settled in a new primary school. She is thrilled to be there, has lots of friends and is passionate to keep breaking down barriers for children with disabilities.