“80 km a day to reach the only school that welcomed us”. Massimo, a deafblind boy’s fight for the denied right to education – the video

Travel 80 km a day to reach the only school that has decided to accept you. This is the right to education that our country can guarantee children like Massimo. He sees and does not hear from birth. The cochlear implant restored his hearing, the Lega del Filo d’Oro the awareness that opportunities can replace boundaries. Then came school, and at that time the right to be in the world became a difficult privilege to obtain. “We asked all the nearby schools no one wanted us. We were told that our son could never follow a ‘normal’ program or learn to read Braille.” Parents resume the stages of a painful journey: scared leaders, support teachers with a dropper, a few hours to set aside and a discrimination case to take to court. A path that unites hundreds of children who are denied the right to learn and therefore be in the world every day.

80 km a day for an oasis

“We were in no doubt.” Six years ago, Massimo got yes from a school 40 km away from where he lives. “There has never been a day when he has not taught the class with his classmates. It was not easy, but we all got involved, ”says manager Barbara Gusmini. “The right to education is inevitably the right to inclusion.” Since the “yes” from the other comprehensive institute in Palazzolo sull’Oglio, Massimo’s parents have turned their lives upside down. “We had to ask for shorter working hours, moving headquarters from Milan, facing lower wages and then the daily journey of 80 km with all the sacrifices it could have entailed in the first place for our son”. Every morning Enza, his mother, takes Massimo to school in his car, “they told us that for the school bus it would have been too many kilometers”. Once she’s there, she greets her son, “sometimes I try to work smart to optimize travel times,” she explains.

“We were told that he would not even be able to learn Braille to read, six years later we have a boy who thinks, learns and who has chosen the theme of freedom as the subject of his thesis for his eighth grade exams” . Mauro, Massimo’s father’s eyes, shine when he talks about the achievements they have managed to achieve together. And it also happens when the boy explains the reason for his choice. “In history, freedom has been taken from us many times. Now you must learn from what happened, never to repeat the same mistakes again,” he says in front of his Braille bar. There are many people who have learned in recent years with him what it means to be free.

“Massi is an incredible student, he manages to understand teaching in a very fast and out of the usual way,” says his drum teacher. “He taught me and still teaches me that what we call the border is actually a different way of being able to see the world. I have to thank him for that. ” Massimo plays drums, archery, canoeing, loves skiing and everything that makes him feel alive and connected to the world around him. “Sociable, determined, with a great desire to improve,” says Marco Zanotti, his ski instructor, the progress he has seen making month after month, to the boy, who has now also become a friend of the whole club.

“Disability is not a gift, but a problem to be solved”

The narrator of Francesco Mercurio is the novelty of this series of short stories dedicated to the law. Deafblind and user of the Lega del Filo d’Oro since he was very young, after a law degree, he now works in the non-profit organization that provides legal advice to families in need. Despite achieving his degree, even Francesco knows well how difficult it is to find his way in a world that seems to have neither the time nor the space to find solutions. “They tell us that disability is a gift, but I am convinced that it is a problem that needs to be solved.”

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