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chukwu Chikwdo

MY JOURNEY IN THE BLIND WORLD – Chukwu Chikwado

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THIRTEEN YEARS ON MY JOURNEY IN THE BLIND WORLD , CONTINUES

Today {October 1}, as usual, I remembered how the night fell on me at noon.
It was on this day, Nature abruptly ceased and shut down the windows of my sight.
There was no symptoms. There was no illness prior to the loss of my sight.
There was no prophecy.
Indeed, the loss of my sight came like the biblical second coming of Jesus, it took me unawares!

It was on the 1st October, 2007, on Nigeria’s independence day when I woke to realize that my treasured instrument of visual connections had taken a French leave of me.
Recounting my personal ordeal as someone who lost his sight to total blindness in his childhood,
I encountered several access barriers. Adapting to my new environment was strange and difficult.
I was unable to cope, yet giving up was not a better alternative option despite my contemplation to embark on a suicide mission.
So, coming up as a blind child was a terrible experience.
However, it is important to know that I had an option to succeed; Yes, I refused to be blind even in the midst of blindness.

There is this idea, that the blind, and the deaf-blind individuals are living in darkness, and their lives are full of fear; that’s absolute nonsense!
Today, I can attest to the fact that there are alternative ways of accessing information.
For instance, many of us who are in the blind community get knowledge through touch, which is equal to knowledge through sight, sounds or other means.

DISABILITY NOT BARRIER

Disability never holds anyone back. Disability is not something anyone needs to overcome. Disability is never a barrier to us. Disability is rather a great asset used to drive unique innovations, possible inventions, and great ideologies home.
The challenges and the access barriers that exist today are created by the society, and it’s up to every single one of us to work to remove those barriers.

On this note, as I celebrate my 13th anniversary in the blind community today, I hereby call on all persons with disabilities in Nigeria to see the need for us to come together as pioneers to build certain advocacy skills that will enable us cover the inclusive lacuna in our various community.
As we all know, a lot of people including private and public institutions are building services without thinking about inclusion for persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
We don’t want separate services. We want one mainstream service that everyone can use.

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further, the Government, private and public officials, especially those at the helm of authority should realize that persons with disabilities are part of the society.
We occupy larger minority group in the society. We are integral part of modern civilization. Our welfare should form the top priority of the government.
In Nigeria for instance, all the schools, including primary, secondary and tertiary institutions are not inclusive; and it requires a great deal of
work, campaign orientation, teaching, and awareness creation etc.

At this end, however, I want to thank my friends and family members for your care and support which you have shown to me since I lost my sight, 13 years ago.
To my colleagues, who are in one disability or the other, I thank you-for your courage. You have been inspiration to the world denizens.
Disability is a reality we all have to accept, while we reject the various limitations that come with it.

-Unilag, Lagos State, Nigeria.
Chukwu Chikwado is:
a law student, blind poet, short story writer, disability Rights advocate, and scholar-critic.
chukwuchikwado57@gmail.com.

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