In many parts of Togo to be born blind is to be born cursed. Families and communities superstitiously fear the disability.
Annani, who is visually impaired rather than totally blind, was nevertheless rejected by his father and scorned by teachers and classmates. In the latter case, he was shamed because he couldn’t see the blackboard in the classroom of his village school.
“You can’t see. What can you do?” Annani recalls his teachers telling him.
The Village of Light School for the Blind took him in several years ago and, since coming there, Annani has succeeded academically and even discovered a love for geometry.
“People think that because the children are blind they don’t have the capacity to learn or be educated,” said Raoul N’souglo, the school’s principal. “They don’t understand that a blind boy is just like any other boy but with his eyes not working.”