Disability Grants To Help Free Blind Francis From Financial Harassment And Hardship
by Francis Aifuwa
(Gbagada, Lagos, Nigeria)
My name is Francis Aifuwa. I'm a 39-year-old male from Edo State of Origin in Nigeria. I was born into a polygamous family of four wives. I'm the last child of my mother.
Francis Aifuwa With Wife And Two Sons
I am married with two sons over four years old and an 11-month-old baby. I currently live in Lagos, Nigeria with my wife and my two kids.Disability Issues
I am visually challenged. My eyesight issues started when I was nine years old and it started to deteriorate.
As a little child, I had to strain my eyes to see. One day, as I was going to school, I went by a parked car. Suddenly, everything went so totally dark I couldn't see a thing.
I hit my head on the car and ended up with deep pain and swelling. That was how my blindness began in 1986, becoming total by 1990.
The optician diagnosed me with congenital cataracts. To this day, the itching, tearing, reddish and sandy sensation still results in much pain. A series of eye drops has been recommended.
My mum tried so many herbs, all to no avail. We were later advised to go for surgery but there was no money for that.
In the process of her taking care of me, Mum lost HER business to MY condition.
A few years after the incident I met my guardian who took me to the Pacelli School for the Blind where I learnt Braille. I got rehabilitated as well and went through Secondary School and then later to University.
Money was one of the barriers at University. But with the help of a friend, I was able to gain government employment in 2011 with a broadcasting house and pay of $150 per month.
In addition to its money problems, the university also did not have the equipment and facilities to accommodate me. Friends would help me to the lecture room and sometimes read for me to listen.
For easier accessibility, I had to rent a costly apartment close to my place of work. Along with the high cost of living, the stipend I receive doesn't cover my basic needs (rent, son's fee, feeding, transport, medical and so on).
I manage to share the money with my family, but I still end up living in total debt. As a worker, I'm entitled to some medical expense reimbursements, unfortunately not the major ones.
I have made several attempts to get a loan to establish one or two business but to no avail. I would need a laptop with talking software for easy accessibility to information and especially for reading the bible.
I enjoy and appreciate education, and so I would like to further my studies in a place that accommodates the needs of the blind.
This accommodation would include the family of the blind. And so, it still boils down to the money and other help needed for this dream to be achieved.Income Efforts
I have made several efforts to make a better living with the little income I get from my monthly pay.
I've opened some businesses for my wife, but we're always at a disadvantage due to inadequate funding and the recession in my country.
I've appealed to church, friends and family for assistance they can afford to provide.
Recently I looked into schools in Europe, including tuition-free schools in Germany. I'd like to start applying between February and March 2017 with a view to a school year beginning in September/October 2017.
Sadly, again, I just don't have enough money to sponsor my family and myself for the period of the program. I don't really know much about grants nor have I ever applied for one.Specific Needs
My specific needs are:
- to further my education in a country that accommodates the blind, including whatever's needed to allow my wife and kids to accompany me
- to get information on grants for laptops with talking software
- to get information on travel grants
- to get information on grants to help pay off the arrears on my rentBusiness Idea
A business idea that appeals to me is to set up a production studio. This is a direct result of my love of broadcasting and of being a broadcaster and my strong belief in the concept of ability in disability.
I envision a radio or television program focusing on people with disabilities by showcasing:
- the ability in disability
- who they are
- what they are
- what they can offer to our society at large
I'd like my wife to set up a pre-school after her studies because of the gift and passion she has for children.
I fully support her efforts to help provide us with a better living and a life that is free from financial harassment and hardship.