BY MALAIKA AITARU
Twenty four year old Nakiranda Jacklyn, the only visually impaired out of her seven siblings is a second year student at Makerere University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Education. She is majoring in literature and English and has hopes of becoming a teacher in the future to help her visually impaired brothers and sisters.
At the age of seven, Jacklyn became partially blind after she fell sick with measles, a period she describes as the turning point in her life.
“I was young but recall it being a tough moment especially adjusting since I wasn’t the vibrant and energetic seven year old anymore. I had to take extra care in my movements; it was really a hard time,” she narrated.
Through an aunt, Jacklyn was able to join Salama School for the blind in primary two and Iganga Secondary School. She was later admitted to Makerere University. She often gets teased by people who doubt whether she will get married and be able to cook, wash and take care of her family, but she chooses to ignore them and prides in trusting that she is better than most of them.
“I will get married one day but currently I am in a happy relationship and my partner knows what my capabilities are.”
As we chatted, she stressed that she often faces discrimination.
“The times at the university when group course works are given, my friend (also blind) and I often get left out because people always find it a burden to be in the same group with us.” She said.
She went on to talk about some lecturers who are fast and focus on the blackboard, leaving them behind. There are also times when there is a lot of congestion and getting to the lecture rooms is hectic, which is worse on days when the seats are limited.
“I also often get cheated by taxi conductors and boda-boda cyclists who do not return my change.”
These are most of the things that affect her day-to-day life and activities.
Amidst all these hindrances, the vibrant Jacklyn says that not even her disability can stop her from achieving her dreams. It is for this reason that she urges parents and guardians to stop hiding their blind children but rather give them a chance to study so they can fend for themselves in the future. She also encourages her brothers and sisters to remember that, “disability is not inability,” as their school motto states.