12 year old Jade suffers from sickle cell disease, two of his older siblings died from this condition. His youngest sibling also has sickle disease and Down’s Syndrome. As a result of this condition, his attendance at school was very poor (attend 20 sessions out of 80), which caused him to fail the Grade Four Achievement Test.
His family was not investing in his education, as they were of the opinion that it would only be a matter of time before he too succumbs to his illness. This family’s challenges were compounded by their low socio-economic status.
An Inner Wheel member got involved with Jade by counselling mother and child. She visited Jade’s school and had several meetings with the guidance counsellor. A Sponsorship package was developed to support this young man in order for him to attend school on a frequent basis. The sponsorship included tuition, transportation, extra lessons, lunch and a nutritious drink on a continuous basis.
Since this intervention, Jade’s school attendance has greatly improved. He started to make friends now that he is in school on a regular basis. He also became much happier and self-confident. His teachers realized his potential and became more attentive towards him. He resat the grade four achievement test and was successful. Additionally, he took the General School Achievement Test and is waiting for the results, which will determine his placement at a secondary school.
On the whole, the hearts of many have been touched by being involved with Jade and his family. Jade is now fully involved in school activities rather than focusing on his illness. His parents are more aware that having an inherited condition should not prevent the child from achieving his/her potential.