Sebeta: Blind Education Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, blind children traverse challenging social and physical terrain in order to receive an education. Widespread poverty and regional social stigma lead some to Sabeta, where the Sabeta Primary School provides residential and non-residential education for special needs students, the majority blind and visually impaired. Until sixth grade, the primary school provides for the basic needs of the student population - food, housing, and clothes. Upon reaching seventh grade, however, students must leave campus and find their own housing, subsisting on a meager government stipend of 300 birr (around $18USD) per month. Challenges compound as children must navigate the sighted world, often hundreds of kilometers from a family that may or may not acknowledge them. While many residents of Sabeta assist these students, stories abound of thefts, assaults, and even sexual assault perpetrated by the sighted on the unsighted. Blind youth struggle together, forming tight groups who assist each other in overcoming daily obstacles.