What makes a bold woman? What makes a bold Woman Living with Disability? In the lead up to the last International Women’s Day, we asked our readers to nominate bold Persons Living with Disability… and one of the winners was the inspirational Adelaide Sarah Munyolo.
She got her free photo shoot, and was graceful as ever as she walked us through her life as a PWD, from the start… to her stellar education and career.
Who is Adelaide Sarah Munyolo?
I am a born-again lady, a motivational speaker, a sister, daughter, a niece, and a friend to many.
What is your Disability Background?
I was born in mid-80’s as a normal bouncing baby girl ’but later acquired my disability at the age of 10 years through a condition the doctor’s termed as Old CPS Case condition caused by post-polio, I was referred to Alupe Subcounty Referral Hospital in Busia county where the doctors assessed me and confirmed that I had a permanent physical disability. My mother later abandoned me in the hospital leaving me under the care of doctors, nurses, and caregivers who later traced my grandparents’ home.
So, how were you brought up?
I was brought up in Busia county, Funyula Subcounty, Buyingi village. I’m a first born in a family of two; my parents separated in my early childhood years. My dad remarried and abandoned me under the care of my late grandparents who passed on in 2014 and 2016 respectively. My dad worked in the Police Force was an absentee father whom I could only see during December holidays when he could come to the village, pick all the children in the neighborhood including my cousins to spend holidays with him in Nairobi leaving me behind. I felt so much rejected, discriminated and unloved. I felt life was so cruel to me. Affording basic commodities like clothes was a nightmare, my dad would buy for others and leave me out. To be short and precise, I have never had parental love. My dad was never a father figure to me, and my mum too never bothered to check on me.
Wow! So, how did you manage to go to School? What’s your academic background
Through the initiative and efforts of my grandparents who approached an organization by the name Nangina Family Helper Project which run by the Catholic Mission and headed by sister Marianna Houlshof and Hon. Moody Awory, the former vice president. The organization champions and fights for the rights of children living with disabilities in Busia County. I joined St Catherine’s Nangina Girl’s Primary School which was an integrated school for the physically challenged. I would commute from the disability home which was few kilometers away every morning and evening in pursuit of education. Though my mobility was severe at that time, I thank God that after eight years I made it. I sat for my KCPE in 2000 and later joined St Cecilia Nangina Girls’ High School where I sat for my KCSE in 2004. I will forever be grateful to the Late Sister Marianna and Hon Moody Awori for financing my education.
It’s due to this reason that I later volunteered in the same organization when it opened up a branch in Nakuru county for four years, being paid a monthly stipend of Ksh. 18,000. This was a big miracle to me!
In 2008 I joined the Kenya Institute of Special Education where I pursued a Diploma in Special Needs Education where I specialized in Kenya Sign Language and Braille (deafblind option) and am currently pursuing my Undergraduate Studies in Special Needs Education at Maseno University. I want to flag Hon David Ole Sankok, the Chairman of NCPWD for his support, ensuring my fees are paid on time. May God richly bless him.
That’s so Inspirational, the fact that you have struggled along with life and achieved so much, despite your disability. Tell us about your job and how you help Persons Living with Disability.
I work with the National Council for Persons with Disability, a motivational speaker, Sign Language Interpreter and a Braille Transcriber. I am also the Founder And Director Of ‘Inua Mlemavu’ – an NGO whose mission is to have all people with disability feel wanted, loved and appreciated to develop their talents, be productive, and useful members of the society. From my experiences, profession, and career, I realized the problems PWDs from poor background and families undergo, and my passion is to make both children and PWDs feel wanted and appreciated which helps raise their self-esteem.
Where do you draw your Inspiration from?
God Almighty has been my greatest inspiration, my journey hasn’t been smooth sailing, but through prayer and trust in God, He has made all things work for good in His own beautiful time, to him be all the glory.
Secondly, my brother, mentor, and friend Hon David Ole Sankok, who has been my guardian angel towards my destiny. I want to impact other people as much as he has impacted my life, and may God bless him and his family.
My fellow Persons Living With Disabilities, it’s a fact that we face a lot of challenges, but we are always fighting the good fight, realizing that the challenges of our tomorrow are the greatest; but we can all make it because there’s new energy to harness, no matter who you are in life, there are things that will never change, pain, problems, and challenges, try to build your life in a positive way. Sometimes I feel discouraged, but when I look at my fellow PWDs, I suddenly feel renewed.
Your Parting Shot…
Always be positive about yourself, believe you can make it in life, never allow anybody to tell you that you can’t do anything, be positive minded and never allow anybody to feel sympathy about your life. Accept your situation, make lemonade out of the lemon, for the road ahead may be long, our climb may be steep, we may not get there in one term, but through determination which knows no obstacles, we will get there.
True, there are setbacks, you may rise or fall in your life, but resist the temptations to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness, and immaturity that poisons your mind, which is The ‘I can’t’ Mentality. Anything is possible!
Philippians 4;16 – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Shalom.
Sarah Munyolo’s Photoshoot Gallery.
Isn’t she amazing?
Ninja Digital Marketer and Blogger based in Nairobi, Kenya. Founder and writer of www.ameru.co.ke and www.frankmwenda.com