|About the author: My name is Mr. Zan Camara.
Born in 1978 with a masters degree in management at the University of Mali and member of the Association to overcome stuttering in Mali since its creation in 2005 to the present day.
I’m a person who stutters, living in Mali (Africa). As most people who stutter (PWS), I began stuttering early in childhood.
It’s only when I became an adult that I fully realized the negative impact that stuttering may have on a person. In addition, if not properly handled, it can become a real obstacle to our personal, educational and professional developments. Once Mali got access to Internet, I searched the world wide web about stuttering resources, since Africa seriously lacks appropriate structures and Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) specialized in stuttering to take care and treat PWS.
My search got me in touch with the Stuttering Association l’Association Parole-Bégaiement (APB) from France that at the time was directed by Mrs. Anne-Marie Simon. This association’s commitment towards French African countries gave lots of hopes to adults who stutter and parents of children who stutter and motivated the rise of many self-help groups of PWS throughout French Africa.
That’s how I became involved in the Association Vaincre le Bégaiement (AVB, self-help “To overcome stuttering”) upon its inception in 2005 by Mrs. Diallo Oumou Sidibé, as deputy member for Mrs. Anne-Marie Simon, to combine our efforts in our struggle against stuttering in Mali.
The setting up of this association allowed a greater awareness of the general population about stuttering and to group PWS, mostly children and students.
Since 2005, we have been able to celebrate the International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) supported by our country’s government. This worldwide yearly event gave us a unique opportunity to talk about stuttering in the media.
At international level, I was instrumental to have the AVB of Mali to become a member of the International Stuttering Association (ISA), thanks to Moussa Dao’s and Joseph Lukong’s leaderships.
I further facilitated our cooperation with the APB and the Stuttering Foundation of America (SFA) to share documents about stuttering and to attend various conferences and workshops.
Given the lack of treatment, support and specialized SLPs in Africa, I organized, for the first time in Mali, the visit of a delegation of “Orthophonistes du Monde” (Worldwide SLPs) directed by Mrs. Sylvie Brignone. The involvement of this benevolent organization was instrumental to enhance the knowledge and skills of the Association and to boost the efforts in the field of stuttering in Mali. I also concluded a partnership with students in speech pathology of the University Jean Décrois of Lille (France), who were coming to Mali in training each year to take care of children who stutter. The help of these trainees was an important support to take care of the stuttering children who were truly motivated.
Finally, my attendances to the conferences/workshops of the APB, the International Fluency Association (IFA) and of the International Stuttering Association (ISA) have given me lots of hope and self-confidence to overcome stuttering, to diffuse our efforts in Mali and to share our related experiences.
I am hopeful that with an on-going partnership and of mutually beneficial exchanges/relations with SLP’s specialized in stuttering, we will be able overcome stuttering in Africa, or at least to lower its negative impacts.
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