Hassane is no longer anyone’s “doormat.”
That’s how the 11-year-old characterizes how he used to feel. Hassane’s family was so poor that other children in his small Guinea village shied away from him. His parents, subsistence farmers who scraped by on $100 a year, were excluded from community meetings.
Hassane had no bed to sleep in and only one meal a day. He suffered repeated bouts of malaria, and the nearest health clinic was 2.5 miles away. So was the school.
When ChildFund reached the family a year ago, it became possible for Hassane’s parents to access livelihood support that included higher-quality seed varieties, farming tools and water purification solution. Last season marked a 40 percent increase in their crop yield.
The family now can afford two solid meals each day. Mosquito nets protect Hassane from malaria as he sleeps. His parents are welcomed at community meetings and ceremonies, and they feel they are finally being listened to.
“I can be part of the community, something I could not do a few months ago,” says Hassane’s father, Camara, who is now able to save for medical, school and household needs.
And Hassane is finally in school — in grade 2. Although he is older than his classmates, it’s fine with him. “I now feel that I am living and I have some respect from my friends and age mates,” he says.
His new friends are not the only ones who feel that way. “Hassane has great potential,” says his teacher. “I feel that I am dealing with a future leader. He rallies the children to clean the school when there is need. He is ever ready to help his colleagues and the school. He is such a positive influence, you cannot miss him.”
As for Hassane, his eyes are on his parents and the future. “They mean very much to me,” he says, “and I am hoping that one day I will be able to also change their lives just as ChildFund has done through the support. I know we are still poor, but I feel we are better than we were a year ago.”