In every challenge and vicissitude of life, there is an inspirational story to tell.
Today, City Pulse Nigeria brings you one of such success stories. It revolves around a certain young lady whose struggle against cerebral palsy is quite remarkable.
For the record, cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by damage to developing brain, most often before birth. It causes impaired movement associated with abnormal reflexes, floppiness or rigidity of the limbs and trunk, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, unsteady walking, or some combination of these.
Report further says people with cerebral palsy may have problems swallowing and commonly have eye muscle imbalance, in which the eyes don’t focus on the same object.
Read the motivational story of how young Oluwabusola Claudia Akinsola survived the societal stigma of this order.
My name is Oluwabusola Claudia Akinsola and I was born on the 1st day of August 1981. I am the last born of my family and I am a person living with cerebral palsy. I hail from ondo town in Ondo state. I have a Bsc in Economics from Babcock University and a masters degree in International Economics and Trade from the London metropolitan university.
While growing up, I was told I had dyslexia.
At what point did Akinsola discover she has cerebral palsy…
I never knew it was cerebral palsy until 2012, when I came across a special educator (Miss Ebele Oputa) who dropped the bombshell that what I actually have cerebral palsy and not dyslexia.
I could not just fathom what really went wrong because, as I said earlier, I never knew it was cerebral palsy until 2012.
Reaction of family, friends and immediate neighbours…
Thank God that I have a loving and supportive family members. They treat me like any other normal child as there was so much love. In my neighborhood, I was also accepted and have so many friends.
However the same can not be said anytime I ventured to go outside the neighborhood, people would keep their distance away from me as if I had a disease. At first, I felt sad. Sometimes I cried and kept asking God, “Why me?” One day, God threw me a poser, “Don’t you think that you will have a story to tell some day?” That was all I needed to rise from my disappointment and stigmatization.
As time went by, I began to understand that not everyone will accept me. Ever since then, I always walk around with confidence everywhere I go. Today, I am living my life with no regrets.
Yes, I am in a relationship and he (partner) is aware of the fact that I have cerebral palsy. He loves me just the way I am
Work & Vocation…
At the moment, I work with Benola, a cerebral palsy initiative as an ambassador, and everybody loves me. Prior to my joining Benola, in other places I have worked (both in Nigeria and London), I was well accepted.
Were there times she blamed herself or parents for present predicament?
Blame who? For what? You see I have learned to love myself just the way I am. I know there is a purpose why GOD created me and remember GOD loves varieties. I don’t play the blame game. I was able to make it this far because I have a GOD who is bigger than all my problems.
Secondly, I have a family that is second to none. They have always supported me especially my mum, a woman of courage, who never fished for me but, instead, taught me how to fish so I can be useful to the society. I also have other numerous mummies and daddies who have helped me in one way or the other. I have aunties and uncles and extended families who have always supported me. I am also surrounded by good friends who are always there for me.
As I said earlier, I have no regrets whatsoever. I am living my life to the fullest.
Are there associations for persons living with cerebral palsy in Nigeria?
Yes, there are associations, bodies and non-governmental-organisations for people living with cerebral palsy. Benola is one of them.
Advice for persons living with cerebral Palsy…
My advice is simple – don’t give up on life! Having one form of disability is not the end of the world. There is ability in every disability. You just need to discover your purpose and start making your life count. It is not going to be easy but with GOD, perseverance and self-belief or self-acceptance, you will overcome all obstacles on your way.
Society & Government Intervention…
Yes, the government should not only enact laws, they should also implement ones that would help ensure that the rights of people living with disabilities are enforced. International organizations should endeavor to support organizations in Nigeria in the area of finance, provisions of services (humanitarian services, legal services and the likes) and also in whatever capacity they can be of help.
The society, on the other hand, needs to understand that persons living with disabilities are going through a lot. Please, don’t add to their problems by way of discrimination.
A person is first a person before disability came his way. Let’s learn to respect people living with disabilities and show them love and care. The society should, therefore, endeavor to make the world a better place by supporting people living with disabilities.
We are uniquely beautiful!
Oluwabusola Claudia Akinsola, acclaimed disability warrior, who is passionate about changing the way people view persons living with cerebral palsy in Nigeria can be reached via +234-803-574-5960 and +234-809-231-0599 for enquiries and counselling.