I am unstoppable — Blind university student leader

Daisy Chepkemoi is a third-year student at Maasai Mara University, Narok. The 22-year-old spoke to Robert Kiplagat about her bright future

When did you learn that you were different from other children?

I never knew I was blind until I joined Class Three, when I was introduced to Braille. In Class One, I would listen to teachers and respond orally to questions. I did not know what was wrong with me then.

How has your education journey been?

Being the only girl who uses Braille and virtually the only blind pupil in the entire Kiriba Primary School, I was mocked by fellow learners.

Some cheeky pupils called me the ‘girl without eyes’ and that my Braille was making ‘unnecessary noise’ but they never stopped me.

How did you deal with the bullying?

I accepted myself the way I am and chose to pursue my dreams.

How was your childhood?

I was born in Kiriba village in Bomet County to normal parents and out of fear and respect, I never asked them what was wrong with me. When I asked my grandparents, they assured me that I was made in the image of God.

I am the second-born in a family of eight. My parents treated all of us equally and never took us to hospital for check-ups as they accepted me and my brother who was also born with visual impairment.

I suspect that my condition could be genetic as my older brother was also born with visual impairment. I hope to look for answers once I complete my education and get employment. One day I know I will see.

How did you perform in school?

After doing KCPE at a local primary school, I was admitted to the prestigious Kipsigis Girls in Kericho County where I emerged the top blind girl in the country with a mean grade of C+. I then enrolled at Maasai Mara University.

I’ve had a normal education and was even able to make friends. I am naturally a very social person. The friends I made assisted me throughout high school. The same spirit has been extended to university.

Do you have any special talents?

Yes. Being a natural leader and politician, I have passion for human rights.

A few months ago, I tried my luck in students politics and now I’m the elected Secretary General for Maasai Mara University Students Union(MMUSU).

When I told my friends that I wanted to venture into politics, they were confused. Luckily, through their support, I went for it and won. I also love planting trees.

What challenges do you face as a blind university girl?

I cannot survive without the people I trust around me. I cannot walk alone for fear of being knocked down.

What are your plans after university?

I would love to go for a second degree from the prestigious Harvard University in the United States of America.

Any parting shots?

As President Obama said, Yes We Can. I am a living testimony that disability is not inability.