See me through my eyes, and not my disability

I like what just happened. When you looked at me and started talking, you saw me the person first, and not my disability.

It helps, because growing up as a child, persons would see what the challenge is, and not how to fix it. I am visually impaired, and mostly it’s people who affect my life – the challenges and the limitations they place on you, that you ‘can’t’.

They then place their baggage on you to prevent you from actually achieving what you can.

Children with disabilities being held back

Going through high school it was hard being accepted in classes. There was a teacher who told me that for this one subject she would not be able to teach me, because I am “slower than everybody else.”

But if she had found some other way, like an assisted aid then I would have been able to excel better than I did.

Then as an adult, getting a job has been really hard. However, Fight for Peace allowed me to come onboard as a social worker and I’m proud to be a part of their efforts. I work on the Fight for Peace psycho-social support team (funded by UNICEF), providing one-on-one and group counselling to participants.

Fight for Peace empowers me

They readily accept my ideas. They allow me to put on workshops and treat me as society should: as normal.

I attend sports and personal development sessions at schools and community centres to build trust and rapport. I also represent the Jamaica team on Fight for Peace’s global Disability and Inclusion Working Group, which aims to strengthen how we as an organization serve youth and employees with disabilities.

For where I am today, I am grateful for my childhood experience, no matter how negative it was. It taught me that living with a disability is not something that it is easy to do, but once you decide you’re going to do what you to have to do, then it’s going to be so much easier.

Overcoming the challenges

The challenges will come, but you’re going to have to:

  1. Take it one step at a time; and
  2. Work harder than anyone else.

For children with disabilities in school today, I want to tell you to work hard, believe in yourself and tell yourself that you can do it, even when persons tell you that you can’t.

That’s what you can see in me today.

 

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