From the income I get, I support my aging mother and my late sister’s three children. My nephew graduated last year with a degree in agriculture, the second-born is in his second year at Kyambogo University, and the last-born is in senior three.
For her doggedness, resilience and determination, Jennifer Adokorach has secured a slot in the league of Uganda’s super women, who are consistently breaking new grounds and pushing the country forward.
At age 5, Jennifer had a pathetic experience that changed her life forever. She was taken to the hospital to be cured of a disease her mother thought may have been malaria, but events took an entirely different turn.
My mother told me that the nurses at the hospital gave me an injection that left the lower part of my body paralyzed.
In 2003, Jennifer was admitted to one of the secondary schools in her community, but was later rejected on the claim that the school didn’t have facilities to cater for people in her condition and that she was a burden to her classmates who helped push her wheelchair. This incident troubled Jennifer, but at the same time doubled her courage and determination, not only to pursue and secure her rights, but more so, to be a voice for other young people who face similar plight.
I was angry because I knew that education was my only hope for survival. I couldn’t do a lot of physical work anymore. I took matters into my own hands. I reported the case to the Gulu District Education Officer, the Disabled Persons Union, and the Human Rights office. Before I knew it, I was back to school and the authorities had instructed the school to build ramps at every classroom to cater for students like me.
Despite having gained her first victory, Jennifer had to learn to withstand pressures and public ridicule, and brace herself for future exploits.
That ridicule didn’t stop me, she says. I performed well in my secondary school exams. After that, I joined university.
For Jennifer, it was one good leap after another.
Armed with a degree in Office and Information Management from Gulu University Jennifer set her mind ready for an upward scale in her future career but each time she is shortlisted for a white-collar job, she never scaled beyond the interview stage.
Despite her cares and difficulties, Jennifer understands that she is not the only struck, as many other Ugandan youths are also faced with the challenge of unemployment. But unlike many of them, she made a firm resolve, to break the limb of this monster and create sustainable solutions.
Jennifer joined a team of young female farmers with disabilities within the Ngolo pe Penyi women’s group.
They secured their first seed money from American Jewish World Services and began farming in 2014. They planted rice, and harvested 46 sacks which they sold to be able to start their own businesses.
And that’s not all, Jennifer also runs a salon in her house. All to make a decent leaving, to care for herself, her dependents and also inspire other young people to step out and be change.
In addition, the 28 year old power woman has big dreams of becoming a member of the Ugandan parliament in 5 years. She is currently vying for the District Councillor position to represent women with disabilities.
If I am voted into office, I will be able to speak out for all girls and women regardless of whether they have disabilities or not, she says.
I keep telling these girls that disability is not inability. We might be physically impaired, but that doesn’t mean that our brains don’t work well. I tell them that a person with a physical disability is able in many other ways. So they must capitalize on that one thing that they can do well.
Quotes credit- www.one.org
© 2016 – 2017, Lovelyn Okafor. All rights reserved.