Blind Woman Overcomes Aersity

There is a saying that disability does not mean inability – and neither should it take away one’s passion for being successful. The epitome of the expression is the visually impaired but vibrant Juliana Samuel who has certainly proved wrong the notion that disability is inability.

Samuel who hails from Elombe village says being visually impaired is no longer a challenge for her but a golden opportunity to embrace her inner caring nature to look after children in her community, but most especially street children who have no one to turn to. Apart from running the Smiley Kindergarten in Ondangwa she also feeds 14 street kids. Samuel said she provided a safe haven for the 14 boys for three years before they went astray and disappeared one by one onto the streets.

“These days they only come for food and go back to the streets,” Samuel says about the street kids.

The young mother of two says her vision started becoming blurry in 2005 and her world turned upside down when she lost her sight completely in 2009.

“It was not easy, but I also couldn’t helplessly sit at home. I needed to get busy and realized that working with children was my only hope,” said an upbeat Samuel.

Before she lost her sight completely she had to resign from Shoprite where she was employed and started a kindergarten at her home village of Elombe.

Losing one’s sight can be very scary, but according to Samuel the kindergarten gave her hope.

In 2009 when she lost her sight completely she was taken in at the centre for the visually impaired in Windhoek, where she was taught how to read Braille and move around. Her rehabilitation at the centre was “food for her soul” and she went back home renewed and energized to conquer her new way of life.

Samuel said being blind did not take away her passion to work with children, adding “it is far more joyful to work with children than with adults”. She then moved her kindergarten from Elombe to Ondangwa where she currently looks after 25 young children who look up to her for inspiration.

Samuel said because she cannot teach the children how to write her daughter assists her, but enthusiastically chuckles that she is the “busy bee in class”.

“The children often do things on purpose when I am alone, but I am too smart for them. I keep them busy and at times won’t notice time going by,” she says full of smiles.

Samuel also helps other children in the broader community. Recently she gave boxes of gifts received from a humanitarian organization in America to 100 children in her community.

Besides being the proud owner of Smiley Kindergarten in Ondangwa, she serves as a member of various organizations that involves the visually impaired people. Positions she holds include being the chairperson of the Northern Association of the Visually Impaired, being a representative of the ELCIN Rehabilitation Centre for the Visually Impaired and the treasurer for the Namibian Federation Women’s League of the Visually Impaired.

Source : New Era