If you were to make an appeal to your school management, what would it be?
I would appeal to them to create an avenue for the challenged students in there. It's not just about me. I can go through it. There are people that can't. I'm talking about people who use crutches, or even those that crawl. I feel bad each time I see them struggling to enter a bus, etc. They aren't given any preferential treatment. They should be helped. There should be an avenue where they sit well in class. They need encouragement and help. Some of them don't pay their school fees comfortably. This is because some of them were rejected by family members but trying to make on their own. They need to be loved. They need help. It's something that is very clear even by just looking at them. Most times, paying their school fees is a problem maybe because of the kind of home they came from. Some of them were rejected and they are trying to do it on their own.
If you were to make an appeal to the state government, what would it be?
If I have to be a voice of the challenged like I told God, I would appeal that there should be this avenue created for these people to go to school. They need to be educated. The book of 1st Corinthians Chapter One told me that God uses what is little to shame the great and what is weak to shame the strong. There is something between God and challenged people. It is really significant even though our society still doesn't accept them. Sadly, even their own families sometimes don't accept them. Society sees us as a curse, but we are blessings. If these people should be encouraged and empowered, they would surprise society. Let them be offered Education. It is their key to breaking bounds and being useful to that same society that sees them as liabilities. If I am given that chance and asked, 'Doris, what do you really want?' I would say that I want to go to the United States and Study Medicine. If I study medicine over there, I can do something different from what obtains here in our country. So, if I should be allowed to, I would turn out better than even most people who are not challenged. There is so much for the government to do for the challenged than spend millions of money on beauty pageants and other irrelevancies. There are things that are needed to be done. There are places that funds should be directed. It's on these challenged and helpless people. They are assets. They believe in themselves. The days are gone when they did not believe in themselves. I see a lot of them who have that belief in themselves, but who really do need to be encouraged. Sometimes, we come from poor homes and you know the way these things are. It's not that our parents don't love us. Some of them actually do. However, because the money is not there, it becomes a greater challenge. My dad always used to tell me that if he had money, my leg would not touch the floor. I'll tell you about my dad. He is doing his best, but maybe his best is not enough in the eyes of the world. I see him as the best father. He has been really wonderful. Maybe he understands me more than any other person because he is challenged too.
Your dad is challenged as well?
Yes. He is. He cannot walk without help. He is a courageous man, in spite of that. That's the exact thing I'm talking about. He is doing pretty well in the confines of his small job. He is onto Arts, Graphic Designs, Paintings and all those things. My dad doesn't have a computer in his office. His shop is very small. He needs help. He has business plans that he has drawn, but the problem is that there is no money for him to fund all of them. He needs to take his children to school. He cannot do it all on his own. He's trying his best. I'm giving him that credit. He however needs much more hands and he has actually gone to Newspaper houses to solicit for help, but to no avail. That's what we are talking about. Neglect. Neglect of these group of people.
Do you want to talk about what really caused your own problem?
My parents said I wasn't born this way. They said that at the age of three, my bones started changing structure. I learnt and actually understood the problem when I started taking biology as a subject in school. I realized that my own problem was more about a deficiency of calcium which affected all the bones in my body. I lived on personal care back then, but I'm strong now. I'm very strong. It's just that I need to be taken care of.
I have had a most fulfilling time talking with you, Doris. I am really glad we met and I hope this interview would be an inspiration to people who are challenged.
Thank you so much. It has been my pleasure.
Is there anything you want to say to our readers out there?
Yes. I want to tell them that challenged people need love. They shouldn't be rejected because they are the handwork of God. They need to understand that it took God a lot to create this group of people. It took so much time and inside each and every one of them, there is something he dropped, because when he takes one thing from you, He gives you back something else in return. There is no way He can take everything away from you. I also want to tell them that I intend to do something great. All I need is the opportunity to be given that chance. I can do many things. I have great plans. Even in school, I sell clothes to people. I go to the Onitsha Main Market, buy the clothes, return and sell to my fellow students. I can handle any business. The problem is who would help me get this dream actualized? Who would be my sponsor? I need financial assistance. I have helped myself up to this level, but it has not been easy. How many people like me have come this far in this country? I can tell you how hostile it can be in the world out there. It is really unfriendly. It is truly degrading. It hurts, the way we are treated. I just thank God for being there all the way. He has really been faithful and I owe all my thanks to Him. I will continue to serve Him for the rest of my life.
Any words for challenged people out there?
I want them to be strong and hold on firmly to their dreams and aspirations. I want them to love themselves first before expecting to be loved by their fellow human beings. They should never lose hope for God is their strength. They are heirs of the father and children of His kingdom. There is no need to fear. God created them and would continue to shelter them and send help across to them through public spirited individuals. Just keep struggling. Keep believing in yourself. Keep believing in God and everything will be alright at His time.
Thank you so much Doris. So glad I met you. I wish you luck in all your endeavours. I love your spirit. I wish this publication will attract people who would come to your aid, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
Thank you very much, ma'am. Amen to your prayer. God bless you.
I want to thank our dear readers who followed the story of Doris from the last edition to this concluding part. I don't know about you, but I am truly inspired by her and I am deeply satisfied by the number of calls I have received from people who were touched in one way or the other by her story. It is very sad that in our country, Nigeria, there really is no space for the challenged in our society. They are most unfairly treated and that is the worst form of inhumanity one can ever mete out to any of God's creature, as far as I am concerned. One thing struck me when I met Doris. There are a lot of youths in our everyday setting who have no challenges, yet find it difficult to be focused about their future or what they want out of life. They have parents who are willing to pay for their education but yet are not willing to get educated. Some go to school to join cults and all sorts of fraternities, thereby bringing shame to their families. This lovely young lady however, has broken the fetters of inferiority complex in spite of her challenge in this very hostile world of ours and has risen to that level where she is actually a little more than a voice for the challenged in our society. She however needs HELP!!! Has this story touched anyone out there? Do you have a little more than you need for yourself or your family? Please, this is a cry for help from DORIS. This is a cry of help from UCHE AMUNIKE on her behalf. Doris needs all the support she can get to make it in her life. Next year she would be in her finals. Wow! I am really inspired. She has to write projects, buy textbooks, spend on her practicals, etc. There are a lot of able bodied parents who cannot boast of paying their children's school fees, but her father, even though challenged like her has been just so great. I know we have philanthropists in our society. I would be expecting your calls. You can reach DORIS with the number 08135863394. May God bless you as you do so. On a general note, I wish to appeal to every reader reading this page to remember always that the only thing that a challenged person needs is LOVE. Show them love and acceptance, then they can then feel that sense of belonging that they truly lack, but desperately desire. This is really important. May God bless us all as we do so! Happy Easter to you all!!!