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Holding Hands

To the Principal of Girls’ Secondary School, Orlu, there was no justification for my ambition. It was abnormal; she vehemently refused me admission regardless of my academic score. “This disabled girl has no place here, take her to Cheshire Home where disabled children are kept”. I was demoralized. I began to feel different, probably inferior to other children who gained acceptance. I wondered why I should be disabled, “was I created by the same God?” I questioned the essence of my being. Several questions ran in my mind, I was in pains, unhappy and felt dejected. I lost confidence, felt unwanted, unloved. “The whole world do not want me, if that is the case there’s no reason to continue living”, this and several thoughts flashed in my mind. I could not think of any solution, I was only ten years. I wept for hours, for days, for weeks, yet no hope in view. I was sick and tired. I could not talk. I lost appetite and went on hunger strike!

Why should persons with disabilities be perceived as ‘good for nothing’? Why should societies isolate them? As long as they are subjected to live in isolation, education opportunities for children with disabilities are limited by admissions discrimination, child preference, stigmatization, segregation, lack of finance, inaccessible transportation. We must address these.

My mother wept helplessly on learning about the Principal’s attitude. She was a widow, an illiterate, yet an angel. To her, western education was the only hope for my personal empowerment and tool to progress hence she refused to yield to the rejection. She was determined to fight the battle, a single battle that could ensure her child’s happiness, protection and sense of belonging. “I will sacrifice my life to ensure your progress, your pain doubled my pains”, were her words to me one day after calling me several pet names and won my attention. She encouraged me. She had approached another person to take us to the Principal. She promised to confront the Principal should she stigmatize me in her presence. She reassured me that I must go to school, that she would always stand by me. She would always come to visit me in the boarding house.

My third journey to Girls Secondary School Orlu yielded fruits. The Principal did not repeat those words. I was admitted into the school second month into the academic term. My mother paid the fees and I was offered an accommodation. My mother was allowed to visit me every Sunday.

Comments

pooza11's picture

a mothers faith

I am happy to hear that at the end of the day you went to school and continued your education. A big round of paws to your mother who saw hope and faith in you.She encouraged you and had sacrificed only for you.This can be only done by a mother who have believe in her child. I request you to fulfill her dream no matter the circumstance.
She had suffered for her whole life so that you can live your life in a better way.Never give up in life and prove yourself to the whole world and no one can point out at you.

Love and Hugs
Pooza

Celine's picture

She really sufered

Pooza, as if you witnessed it, she really suffered at various times. For instance, seeing me being lifeless for days when I went into coma at the course of sickness was a story she doesn't like to share. I thank God she is living and see me go through universities. I think today she is proud of me and has to a little extent reaped fruits of her prayers. Each time I remember her, I get spurred on and work harder to accomplish something new to share with her. Sharing something new keeps her so happy. She is a great friend.

My love to you Pooza
Celine

JaniceW's picture

So inspiring

Celine,
It is because of your mother's faith in you and determination to not let you be treated differently that we have the privilege of your wisdom, friendship and perspective on PulseWire. Your unique voice speaks volumes for disabled people around the world, and I am so glad your mother did not allow the Principal's words to discourage her and she stood strong in her belief that the school was where you needed to be. What an inspiration she is to us all.
Janice

pooza11's picture

Love You Celine

Love You Celine

Celine's picture

Love you too

Love you too

Celine's picture

Janice Love

Janice Love,
She really is an inspiration upon her status. Sometimes I imagine what level she should have gone if she had opportunities. She never gave the Principal the chance for further intimidation hence she visited me throughout the period. She stood her ground and made sure it worked. I so much appreciate her, she is like an angel to me.

My warm regards,
Celine.

Frances Faulkner's picture

speaking out

Celine,

I want to know what happened after you went to school? Did you excel and graduate? Did difficulties continue? Can you help others who are disabled?

I love the tribute to your mother. I also love how you tell this story, starting out strong and plunging into despair, as the world gave you the wrong messages. I think we all need to hear this type of thing over and over to remind us of how important it is to fight for what is right each and every day.

Warmly,
Frances

Celine's picture

Re: Speaking Out

Frances,

Yes, I excelled and graduated, proceeded to do Higher School Certificate (HSC) course after which I passed University admission exam. I went to the University of Benin in Nigeria for Bachelors degree course. I also went to Middlesex University in London and obtained Masters degree in International Relations. While a student in London, I was at the United Nations New York for an internship. I interned with the Peacebuilding and Youth Divisions of the UN DESA from Sept to Nov 2004.
Difficulties continued at different levels and in different dimensions, but I overcame.

Yes I help other disabled persons who are not privileged to have the support and encouragements I had and therefore could not reach the level I am. Presently I form a charity NGO through which I empower other disabled persons in Nigeria. See our website: http:dfd.agrojournal.net You can also read Divine Foundation: an Umbrella for Empowerment of Disabled Persons in my journal.

Love,
Celine.

Celine's picture

Re: Speaking Out

Frances,

Yes, I excelled and graduated, proceeded to do Higher School Certificate (HSC) course after which I passed University admission exam. I went to the University of Benin in Nigeria for Bachelors degree course. I also went to Middlesex University in London and obtained Masters degree in International Relations. While a student in London, I was at the United Nations New York for an internship. I interned with the Peacebuilding and Youth Divisions of the UN DESA from Sept to Nov 2004.
Difficulties continued at different levels and in different dimensions, but I overcame.

Yes I help other disabled persons who are not privileged to have the support and encouragements I had and therefore could not reach the level I am. Presently I form a charity NGO through which I empower other disabled persons in Nigeria. See our website: http:dfd.agrojournal.net You can also read 'It Happened to Me' and 'Divine Foundation: an Umbrella for Empowerment of Disabled Persons' in my journal.

Love,
Celine.

VeronicaO's picture

I am very happy for you Celine

Dear Celine,
Long time, how are you doing? hope you are doing great.
I love it where you said, you overcame. My dear, I am really impress with all your achievement and I know that God will see you through. Like I said I am studying Disability Studies at Ryerson University in Ontario Canada and will like to be part of your team of empowerment in our beloved country. I want to go more into inclusive education for all children. Please keep the fire on we shall overcome some day in our country where men and women, yoruba, hausa, ibo and other ethnic groups, people living with disability and people with unknown disability shall come together and accept each other to build the country.
Take care and Iknow you will never be discouraged.

Veronica

vo

Celine's picture

Hi Dear Veronica

My Dear Veronica,
Yes, long time. How is your academic work going?
Sorry we've not been able to hold the International Meeting on MDG and Disability, my friend from Kenya is yet to finalize arrangements with MDG office. I was told that the funds promised will not be enough. We keep our fingers crossed.
Yes I overcame and today I have two degrees and certificates in various courses, still looking out for more.
Why not join us at the Nigerian Cafe: http://www.worldpulse.com/node/26999 It is high time we team up in alliances to resist some oppressions we face on daily basis. Let's keep the fire burning!
Cheers,
Celine

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