I became a volunteer teacher so as not to wander the streets begging for alms -Kano, a visually impaired person

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Dahiru Idris, 28, visually impaired, recently received an automatic job from the Kano state government in recognition of his efforts as a volunteer teacher. He talks to TED ODOGWU on his motivation and future plans

How? ‘Or’ What have you lost your sight?

I haven’t lost my sight; I was born blind.

Is there a history of birth blindness in your family?

Of my mother’s four children and my father’s 19 children, I am the only one who is blind.

How old are you?

I am 28 years old.

Did your parents seek medical intervention when they saw that you were blind at birth?

My parents did their best when I was young; they took me to different hospitals in search of treatment, but it was all for naught. One of the doctors, while trying to diagnose my disease, told my parents that he was sorry because my visual impairment was incurable. He said my eye problem was natural and I couldn’t see.

What was the experience like for you growing up?

Well, I experienced many untold difficulties during my childhood, especially due to the lack of funding, a development that affected my education. Also, there are a lot of businesses I wish I had ventured into but couldn’t due to a lack of funding.

What is your father’s occupation?

My father is a small trader who sells and buys raw meat, known as Powerful in Kano and other northern states, for their survival. He cooks and peddles meat to sell. Growing up as a blind child was very traumatic for me, as I had no choice but to depend on my parents to provide the basic necessities of life.

What schools did you attend?

I went to the government-owned special education boarding school for the blind, Tudun Mari Kano. I did my primary and secondary education there for 11 years, from first to SSS 3, free of charge.

There were lots of special educational materials or equipment to buy, but being poor, my parents couldn’t afford them. Also, my parents could not afford to buy oil for me to add to my meal due to insufficient oil being added to our food, such as rice and beans, ‘school.

Individuals went to the school to distribute beds and bedding, as well as food. We ate garrin kwake (garri) when food was not served on time.

What special skills were you taught in school?

I learned so many skills at the special school, which has a hostel. I learned to read and write. I also learned to use the stylus, the typewriter and the computer installed with special software. As we cannot see, the computer speaks words as we type on the keyboards to guide us. These are the same conventional computers but installed with a special application, known as NCDE, to guide the blind. As soon as you type on the keyboard, it pronounces words.

I also learned the orientation of how to move from place to place without using a stick. For example, if I stay in an environment for a while, I will learn to navigate the environment without using a stick. These are the experiences I have gained. Without my special school education, I would have wandered the streets begging for alms.

After graduating from Kano Special School for the Blind, what did you do next?

I went to college and am currently at level 200. I am studying political science at the National Open University of Nigeria. It is a four-year course.

Why did you choose to study political science?

This is my area of ​​interest.

What makes it interesting for you? do you plan to go into politics?

I don’t want to become a partisan politician; I would prefer to work with a non-governmental organization or go into international relations and diplomacy, where I will be free to analyze political issues as they are, using my knowledge as a political scientist. Political science is very dynamic and diverse. I hope to engage in the analysis of political issues on radio and television.

I hope to be financially independent because if you depend on people they will disappoint you sooner or later. I believe it is better to fight alone than to depend on others. If you struggle alone, God will reward your efforts with success.

The Kano State government recently offered you an automatic job as a teacher, in recognition of your work as a volunteer teacher. Since your main interest is political science, what motivated you to work as a volunteer teacher?

I volunteered as a teacher in many schools at different times for over six years before Governor (Abdullahi) Ganduje offered me this automatic job opportunity, as a blind teacher. I teach subjects related to political science, as well as the English language. This is what motivated my decision to study political science. Many people think that a blind man cannot benefit society. So, rather than begging, I decided to engage in teaching, in order to prove people wrong.

How do you hope to combine work with your studies in political science at NOUN?

You know that the National Open University of Nigeria is a distance learning institution. With this in mind, I make a schedule or schedule, so that I don’t have any problems with my work and studies. I strictly adhere to my schedule, so as not to let my schedules conflict with other activities.

How do you feel about the recognition given to you by the government?

I felt very happy when the state government offered me an automatic teaching job, and my happiness cannot be quantified. I am also currently comfortable in the sense that I am self-sufficient. My endless gratitude goes to the Governor of Kano State and the Commissioner of Education for providing me with a source of income, rather than me wandering the streets of Kano from sunrise to sunset at seeking daily bread.

Do you have a wedding plan?

Yes, I have a fiancée. I plan to marry her after I graduate from college.

Is your fiancée also visually impaired?

No, she is normal and we are planning to get married this year. I studied at Aminu Kano College of Islamic and Legal Studies and all my classmates and friends were born normal.

How did you meet your fiancée?

My fiancée is my student, whom I met at school and she is ready to spend the rest of her life with me despite the fact that I am visually impaired. She takes really good care of me and I like staying with her.

Although she is a student at the moment, she has something to offer to earn a living. In short, she is a professional seamstress. She has so many clients, who frequent her often.

Did you propose to her?

Yes, I proposed to her. She really appreciates that we are going to be a couple and live in peace and harmony.

What attracted you to her?

Her extraordinary kindness attracted me to her; she is exceptionally nice to me. Moreover, she is very simple in terms of attitude and temperament. In addition, she is educated and she has good qualities that can be found in a woman.

How did her parents react to her decision to marry you?

His parents accepted and supported our relationship without prejudice. They encouraged our relationship when they discovered that their daughter truly loved me and voluntarily agreed to be my life partner. To that extent, they supported and welcomed my proposal to marry their daughter.

Have you faced any form of discrimination and how have you dealt with it?

You know that people differ in behavior; so, some accept me, others don’t. I have been discriminated against, especially from illiterate people, just because I am blind. To overcome this daunting challenge, I must be patient enough and continue to demonstrate good qualities in my dealings with people wherever I find myself. By doing so, people with disabilities will be highly respected and recognized wherever we are, and this discrimination could be reduced to a minimum.

What type of provision do you think the government should make for people with physical disabilities in Nigeria?

My appeal to the federal and state governments is to help visually impaired citizens, who have made efforts to improve themselves, to obtain employment opportunities, in order to prevent them from wandering the streets in search of handouts. to keep body and soul together. This is the only way to encourage them and prevent them from becoming street beggars, which is an embarrassment to both society and the government.

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