In a society where disability is largely seen as a justification for alms begging, there are persons with disabilities or PWDs whose passions and dreams cannot be paralysed by their condition. Many of them have risen against the odds to achieve uncommon feats in life.
Nkamenyi Eyibio Patience, who hails from Idere Clan in Odukpani Local Government Area in Cross River State, is in this category.
“I am the first daughter of a single mother of three children. I have two siblings (a boy and a girl), and my mother is the only one catering for us. I never knew my father,” she said.
When Patience was born, there was no premonition that she would lose her sight. “I lost my sight when I was 10 years old. Between ages 5 and 7, I discovered while playing with my younger ones that when they threw something up and asked me to go and pick it up, I would just be looking for it and would not see it. But the thing is there. Then, I could walk about without any aid.”
Patience added that, “When my mother saw that I have an eye problem, they took me to the hospital. At the hospital, they said that I should not wear eyeglasses so that my eyes would not go blind fast. They recommended eye drops and other drugs which I was using.”
Unfortunately, the economic hardship overwhelmed the family, and they could no longer pay attention to her medication. The dreaded fate eventually befell her.
“My mum is a small-scale farmer. She cultivates cassava and other crops. When she could no longer get money, they stopped buying the drugs. From there, I got totally blind.”
The incident was meant to ruin her dream, but the 26-year-old Patience has been resolute. She studied at Saint Joseph Center for Visually Handicap in Obudu, Cross River State, where she learnt how to read and write Braille, type with a typewriter, and use of a computer, among other skills.
“After that, I gained admission into Saint Michael Secondary School Uguoba in Oji River Local Government Area at Enugu State”.
Still burning with the desire to be a graduate, Patience sought and was offered admission into the Department of Adult and Continuing Education, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, where she is now in her second year.
Unfortunately, she has not been able to pay her tuition for the new session. Consequently, she is emotionally stressed and agitated. “I have no one to help me, and my mum does not have the ability. I have accepted all that has befallen me as my fate. But I believe I can still make something great out of life.”
Patience held that “The only time I feel bad is when everyone is writing, and I am not writing. It is painful. But my friends and coursemates have been of help. I will always beg them to help me record with their phones since I don’t have a good phone. But sometimes, they decline. So, I need a good phone or recorder to record my lectures. I need to pay my rent. I need money to transport myself to school.”
Without these needs met, Patience is sure to discontinue her education, and her earnest prayer now is for destiny helpers who will help her. She continues her academic journey at her school.
“I am appealing to public-spirited individuals to please assist in keeping me in school. My mother has reached her elastic limit, and I am about to have my academic and life dream aborted,” said the strong-willed, visually impaired student.
Already, the deadline for tuition payment has elapsed. “The deadline is the 10th of July 2023, which is today. But, I am still hoping that God will use anyone to meet my needs,” she said.
Regardless of her physical disability, Patience is poised to make her marks in any field of human endeavour she finds herself.
Patience will be home and dry if well-meaning, public-spirited Nigerians come to her aid in this critical time. Those who are touched by her situation can extend help to her by reaching out to her on 08143499017 or the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ Anambra State Council, Dr Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on 08060750240. Patience’s account details are as follows:
Account Name: Patience Eyibio
Bank: First Bank
Account number: 3139630368.
Patience is upbeat that her dream, now seriously challenged, will not be terminated. But, this is largely dependent on how everyone who comes across the report reacts to her situation.