Campaign Update

Stigmatization Paved the Way for My Dream

Celine
Posted January 27, 2017 from Nigeria

I was not born a disabled child. I developed disability at infancy. While growing up in my rural village I hardly noticed the difference between other children and myself, all the parts of my body functioned well. More so as a last child I received unprecedented love and special attention from my mother—my first mentor, motivator, and inspirator! She always told me that the uniqueness of my person did not change even after the protracted sickness that led to my disability. When people tried to make derogatory comments about me, my mother would try to shield me from negativity.

My first experience of discrimination was when I was 10 years old. It came from the principal of Girls Secondary School, Orlu. She represented a culture, a society, a world that shaped and bottled wrong perceptions for women with disabilities. As voiceless as I was, that experience helped shape my life goal. I started dreaming. My dream was to lead in changing the paradigm, in changing the societal twisted perceptions of women,and to pave the wayfor a brighter future for women with disabilities in Nigeria.

I am working toward this every day. With immense support from my tremendous team of supporters the ball has beenset rolling. The path we are threading is that of Empowerment. Together we are proving to the world that empowering women with disabilities makes them contributing members of their communities.

Women with disabilities constitute 60% of 11 million Nigerians with disabilities. We now refuse to be seen as objects of charity and pity. Our platform, Divine Foundation for Disabled Persons, is all out sensitizing and educating societies, and changing the minds of individuals and communities against wrong perceptions of women with disabilities. In a country where attitudinal barriers limit persons with disabilities, the women folks are more limited by male preference and female exclusion.

In the process of making my dream a reality, I of course face challenges. Combining my paid job with my project is a major challenge. My paid job demands so much energy, responsibilities, and commitments. It often distracts my attention from vigorously pursuing accomplishment of the mission of Divine Foundation. I would like to work full time with Divine Foundation, but I would need a sustaining project before making this decision.

Despite the challenges, we are making progress every day toward our goal of empowering women with disabilities.

We have been doing advocacy work to the government of Abia state, Nigeria. There we are on the move to secure a job for a visually impaired woman named Onyinyechi. We facilitated actions that assisted getting Onyinyechi’s credentials to the government and sent an advocacy letter on letter-headed paper of Divine Foundation to the Executive governor of Abia state. We are hopeful that she will soon get a job with the civil service commission.

I also highly appreciate my team members for helping us with branding. I'm excited that in addition to our FaceBook page, we now have a Twitter account!

My team isalso working hard to ensure we are sustainable in Nigeria. We aregetting more visibilityin Nigeria, and Divine Foundation has now opened an account with a bank in Nigeria. We have been able to accomplish this feat using the Foundation’s Certificate of Incorporation Constitution which included the mission and objectives of the Foundation and some amount of money from the cash award from World Pulse.

Thanks to World Pulse and my team who are helping to pave theway for my dreams!

Comments 21

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JaniceW
Jan 27, 2017
Jan 27, 2017

Celine, this is a wonderful example of how mothers not only protected us but also teach us to embrace the uniqueness in all of us. What a great role model for you and in turn, you are now a powerful role model for others. Thank you for all that you do for people with disabilities. 

Celine
Feb 02, 2017
Feb 02, 2017

Thank you for your words of encouragement Janice. I sincerely appreciate you for the inspiring roles you play in this our great community of women.

Sending you love and strength

Celine.

Lily Habesha
Jan 28, 2017
Jan 28, 2017

Celine, this is such a wonderful job. You remember the people which some of don't even remember.  keep the great work

Cheers

Lily

Celine
Feb 02, 2017
Feb 02, 2017

Thank you dear sister! Every one is important, everyone should be regarded.

Cheers,

Celine

Carolyn Seaman
Jan 28, 2017
Jan 28, 2017

Dear Sister Celine,

Thank you for sharing such a powerful story of the inspiration behind your passion. I am inspired that you have channeled your life experiences into a mission to change the lives of other women in your community.

I am so excited to read about the achievements and recent developments in your organization. And I have followed your social media page and handle so I will continue to follow your work and I am sure that you will continue to achieve remarkable impact. Blessings!

Love,

Carolyn

Celine
Feb 02, 2017
Feb 02, 2017

My dearest Sister Carolyn,

Thank you so much, my heart is really sweet. I am excited beyond words, thank you for sharing in my excitement. World Pulse has given us a platform to live our dreams, we keep appreciating this opportunity by showing love and care to women through our activities.

Blessings to you sis, as you make impacts in the lives of girls through your project.

Cheers!

Celine

LillianVB
Jan 29, 2017
Jan 29, 2017

well done Celine,

Transferring negative energy to positive action is a bold step to take and also a powerful one. when the experiences we go through enable us focus on improving our lives and that of others, then it becomes a healing  and transformative experience especially for those who have not yet risen to your level of self esteem and strength. keep on doing well. Good luck with your projects

Clodine Mbuli Shei
Jan 31, 2017
Jan 31, 2017

Courage Celine, It takes women like you to deconstruct disability myths. From my experience working with persons with disabilities i agree that there is need for mind changing regarding disabilities. Disability is not inabilities and persons living with disabilities are not beggars. 

Celine
Feb 02, 2017
Feb 02, 2017

My Sister,

Thank you for putting it rightly. "Disability is not inabilities and persons with disabilities are not beggars." These words will keep resonating in my mind. The words would keep guiding me in my activities with persons with disabilities. 

Lots of love, Clodine

Celine

Tamarack Verrall
Feb 03, 2017
Feb 03, 2017

Dear Celine,

What a celebration of progress, accomplished with such determination and hard work. We will not have succeeded completely until every girl and woman has human rights, respect and a way to live comfortably. Your work is an inspiration and your description of steps taken to create Divine Foundation and be able to provide backing for a woman with visual impairment to secure work, is a visionary blueprint for others to follow. I hope that she is hired and that your Foundation will soar.

With love in sisterhood,

Tam

Celine
Mar 23, 2017
Mar 23, 2017

My dear Tam,

So nice, as usual, to read your ever encouraging words. I admire your zeal and attitudes which motivate and inspire me a great deal. Yes, we would not cease in our efforts until every girl and woman has the basic fundamentals to living in dignity. We are still hoping that she will be hired soon, thanks for your concern.

Kindest regards.

Celine

Aramide Oikelome
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Dear Celine!

You are an amazing woman with a heart of gold! It takes someone with a heart of gold to rise above her personal challenge and lend a helping hand to others. I'm glad that you are making giant strides already. Glad to know that some women are being impacted positively. Welldone!

Keep up the good work!

Love and Light!

Aramide Oikelome

Celine
Mar 23, 2017
Mar 23, 2017

Dear Sister Praise,

Thank you for your words of encouragements my sister.

God bless you!

Celine

Edith Kalanzi
Feb 24, 2017
Feb 24, 2017

Celine,

How inspiring. I greatly admire your mom who resisted societal prejudice, encouraged you and now we have YOU!

my very best wishes,

Edith

Celine
Mar 23, 2017
Mar 23, 2017

Dear Edith,

Thanks for your nice comments.

Blessings!

Celine

Adanna
Feb 27, 2017
Feb 27, 2017

Dear Celine,

Thank you for sharing your story. 

Keep up the good work!

God bless you.

Love,

Adanna

Celine
Mar 23, 2017
Mar 23, 2017

Dear Adanna,

Thank you for reading my post and thank you for cheering me.

Warmly,

Celine

Christina
Mar 01, 2017
Mar 01, 2017

What a wonderful thing you are doing. You are inspiring    

Celine
Mar 23, 2017
Mar 23, 2017

Thank you dear!

Joanna Smieja
Mar 17, 2017
Mar 17, 2017

Dear Celine, 

Good to read about the work you and your team are doing in Nigeria! Empowering people with disabilities is an important topic for me too. I think it is important to support women with disabilities, show them how they can reach for what they need and want. You can still enjoy your life while being disabled, this is quite obvious to me, as I am disabled myself. But I also realized that this is not so obvious to other people. Let's show them it is possible :) 

I keep my fingers crossed for Divine Foundation! 

Warm Regards, 

Joanna 

Celine
Mar 23, 2017
Mar 23, 2017

Dear Joanna,

I send you my warm greetings! Thank you so much for reading my post. I am glad to meet you here and so delighted to know that you share my view that with support, women with disabilities can reach their potentials. Yes, this is very important to me and I derive joy hearing that it is possible.  

Hope to read from you again, dear Joanna!

Blessings

Celine