Edwin’s story is both heartbreaking and typical. Like so many Kenyan children with a disability, he faced extraordinary challenges just to survive. Born completely blind into a polygamous family, Edwin endured near destitution as a child due to his mother’s suffering with HIV. She was unable to work, or provide for him and his two sisters, one who was also partially blind and the youngest, HIV positive. His father was also HIV positive and became unable to support his multiple families, forcing Edwin to stay with an uncle who had little interest in education.
Heartbroken at this turn of events, Edwin remained determined, and kept his desire for school alive, getting himself through primary school despite the lack of encouragement or help from his uncle. The year he was to complete his eighth year and earn his primary certificate, both parents died from AIDS. Distraught, but not dejected, Edwin was even more resolute than ever to get through secondary school. He accomplished this by leasing out the last remaining piece of his father’s land, and finally graduated in 2011 with high enough marks to receive an official invitation letter from the Kenyan government to attend university.
Yet it was bittersweet for Edwin. He’d accomplished his original goals, doing well enough to be awarded a subsidized university education; but without any source of income, and his blindness a barrier to getting any of the menial jobs available in his community, it seemed as if his dream of becoming a teacher was out of reach.
Edwin despaired for several months, but ultimately, decided not to be a victim of circumstance, and began to look for bursaries and scholarships, which is when he discovered ACCES. He applied, and was selected for a scholarship award, working hard to earn his Bachelor of Education Arts. In spite of the many obstacles, tragedies and unforeseen circumstances, Edwin never gave up hope, and made a concerted effort to make his dream a reality. ACCES salutes students like Edwin, and is proud to offer a new category of scholarship awards specifically for those who face greater challenges due to a disability.
You can donate here to help other students like Edwin.