Carolyn was born healthy and normal, however as a child, she became sick, likely with meningitis, one of the leading causes of childhood deafness in sub-Saharan Africa and as a result, she suffered total hearing loss. Thankfully, she had already learned to speak, and could still communicate verbally.
Her father died soon after, and she ultimately wound up living with an uncle, who saw no reason to send her to school being deaf, and treated her poorly. She spent her time doing menial work for him, but never gave up on her dreams of going to school and becoming a teacher. Eventually her mother re-married and she was able to live with her again, which meant she could finally go to school. It was difficult for her, as she was a late starter and had yet to learn sign language, but she worked hard and made her way through several years of primary school. Eventually she was able to go to a deaf school, learn sign language and finish her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education.
Now the challenge was secondary school, but Carolyn was resourceful, and got that same uncle to pay fees for her, receiving her secondary school certificate as well. She was working diligently to achieve her dream of becoming a teacher, and in spite of the challenges, took pride in her accomplishment so far.
She realized the next obstacle was an even bigger one - post-secondary school. She started with high hopes, completed a certificate (P1) in teaching but was going for a Diploma at the Kenya Institute of Special Needs Education, specializing in teaching for the deaf. She was forced to defer her studies multiple times, until finally, she lost hope, being unable to raise enough to pay her fees and continue her college education. Dejected, she began to take menial jobs just to cater for her daily living, her dream of becoming a teacher now only a small glimmer in the back of her mind. One day she was given an opportunity to volunteer as an untrained teacher with deaf students and sign language, rekindling her dreams.
Almost two years later, she heard that there was an organization giving scholarships to disabled people, so she inquired of everyone she knew until she found ACCES. She immediately came to the office, excited at the prospect, but fearful she may not qualify, or be too late.
She was relieved to know there were still a few scholarships remaining, so she took the application forms to fill out and bring back the next day. The joy on her face told the whole story. Wiping a tear from her cheek, she thanked ACCES staff over and over for the chance to pursue her dream.
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