‘Blind’ man defies odds to pursue teaching ambition
Being left blind at the age of 19 due to causes yet to be established did not stop a teacher in the Kasena-Nankana West District Assembly of the Upper East Region in his pursuit of education.
While the unavailability of visually impaired tools and having to adjust to life without eyesight interrupted his life and studies, the ‘I can-do it’ attitude that young Hubert brought to his life then meant there was no obstacle stopping him in the pursuit of his career ambitions.
32-year-old Hubert Addi, who holds a Degree in Basic Education from the University of Cape Coast, teaches English Language at the Tedam Junior High School in Paga. This is a feat he has achieved in defiance of the many suicidal thoughts that kept running through his mind during the initial stages of his condition as man without eye-sight.
Mr. Addi now sees his condition as a part of him and not a challenge that should stop him in giving off his best as a teacher.
He recounts that he lost his eye sight in an unconventional way that still beats the understanding of himself and his family. According to him, it all started in the 2004 when he realized one morning that he could not “see anything”. He further stated that it happened at a time when he was almost about preparing to sit for his Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
All effort to correct the developing eye defect did not yield result, he told Senyalah Castro Cazo in an interview.
“I realized this challenge in 2004 one morning and at the same time when I was about to write my BECE. We all didn’t understand how it happened. I was greatly disturbed and I even thought of committing suicide. It was a difficult in that moment of my life, but with God, I managed with it, passed my exams and continued to the senior secondary school level. It wasn’t easy for me at the time at all”.
“It was during the completion year that my condition became severe. I couldn’t even see what I was writing. So I was made to sit outside while an invigilator read the questions to me. It was a difficult moment in my life and I even contemplated a suicide attempt”.
According to Mr. Addi, the turning in his life came when he came into contacts with one Mr. Clement Apewe (Late).
“Mr. Apewe introduced me to the brail education. He later took me to the Wa School for the blind. It was there that I got my secondary education and learnt so many things that I initially did not know about. That was where I took it upon myself to make a change in my life. I didn’t allow the disability to decide my life”.
Teaching at Tedam JHS
Every morning, the young teacher walks into the classroom feeling excited, poised and ready to teach. His commitment to his profession is clearly visible in the big leap he makes into the classrooms every morning of the five working days of the week.
But unlike the rest of the teaching staff at the school, Hubert Addi has great difficulty in writing on the blackboard during lessons and doing other things that demand the use of eyesight.
He tells Senyalah Castro Cazo in an interview at his school that, his long years in the school have made him used to the surrounding. This he adds makes it possible for him to move freely and go about his work without great difficulty.
Mr. Addi however says the lack of teaching materials that suit his condition and the lack of disability user-friendly buildings in the district pose a great hindrance to him in his performance of duty and the many others who may be in situations similar to his.
Stigmatization, Mr. Addi says, is one of the many problems in society that is killing the dreams of hundreds of persons with disability. According to him, he has been on many occasions stigmatized personally and in his profession as a teacher. But he says he has always been able to rise above such condemnations.
Robert Abongo is Head Teacher of Tedam Junior High School. According to him, he initially had doubts in the ability of the blind teacher when he was posted to the school. He added that Hubert Addi has over the years however demonstrated that he is capable of handling his teaching profession despite his challenges.
“Mr. Hubert Addi and I came to this school in the same year. Initially I had doubts as to whether he could do his work properly because of his challenge. But despite his disability, Mr. addi is doing very well and very hardworking,” he stressed.
Mr. Abongo praised him for his seriousness and commitment to work and duties. He said Mr. Addi’s professionalism has doused his doubts and that of the many who thought he could not pursue his teaching profession. The head teacher appealed for help that would give Mr. Addi the needed push in his career.
Some of the students who spoke to our Correspondent said apart from his difficulty in writing lesson notes on the blackboard for them; they enjoyed every bit of Mr. Hubert Addi’s tuition. They also appealed to authorities to make available the needed facilities that will help teachers like Mr. Addi to teach effectively.