FRANCIS CHIPALO writes
I do not want people to feel pity for me because I can do anything in life despite my situation, 17 year old Festus Nkemba, a blind boy of Kafue’s Soloboni compound has said.
And Blessed and Humble Foundation (BHF) Director Lynos Mwamba has called on people not to discriminate against differently-abled persons, saying disability is not inability.
Festus said in an interview that he can do anything which an able bodied person can do despite being blind.
“I know some people want to feel pity for me because of my blindness but I don’t want that. All I want is medical help so that I can regain my sight again and feeling pity for me will not heal me. I want to go back to school please,” he said.
His father Goodson Nkemba explained that Festus was born without any physical challenge but strangely started experiencing eye irritation and lost his eyesight in 2013 when he was in grade 7 after a series of illnesses.
Mr. Nkemba said numerous efforts to have his son treated at hospitals have not yielded any results.
Since 2013, Festus has not been in school and is usually home due to his condition and thereby being left out in a number of activities as a youth.
And Mr. Mwamba, BHF Director observed that differently-abled persons were being neglected in society.
Mr. Mwamba said his organization which is involved in advocacy for persons living with disabilities came on board to assist Festus get back in a special a school and be able to acquire some education.
He said that children should not be denied a right to education whether disabled or not, and appealed to members of the community to change the attitudes towards people like Festus.
“Fact is that persons living with disabilities have for a long time being neglected because people think that such a person cannot do anything and our challenge to them is that disability is not inability. We need to support them because they are humans like us,” Mr. Mwamba said.
He said the organization, working with Chibwe Lumpa, a child rights activist and other well-wishers had found a school for Festus.
“A school place has been secured for Festus at st Mulumba Special School in Choma and we have secured his school fees and groceries but what remains is transport to take the boy to Choma,” he said.
Mr. Mwamba appealed to well-wishers to come on board and aid Festus as well as another child from the same compound having the same problem as that of Mr. Nkemba’s son.
“We are scheduled to take Festus to school on Wednesday once funds transport are made available. And we are thankful to everyone who came on board in ensuring that this boy goes back to school after a long time. He has dreams too,” added Mr. Mwamba.
Festus added that his dream is to be a professional teacher one day!