Maliga (on the left, with his friend, ACCES student Manoah) is currently in 3rd year in Masinde Muliro University pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Optometry and Vision Science
Maliga’s story is sadly representative of the extra challenges experienced by those with disabilities in Kenyan communities, a story also marked by severe discrimination and neglect. He says, “I was born into a society where disability is perceived as inability. As a result I was only taken to school very late, in fact with my youngest sister in the same class. School and social discrimination contributed to having low self esteem in my life which in turn delayed my schooling”
Having also been born into a family with enduring financial struggles, Maliga’s lot in life has definitely not been advantageous in any way. Maliga’s father was already at an advanced age, and he suffered from acute arthritis, making it an exceptionally difficult challenge just to provide for basic daily needs. His illiterate mother was left to be the main breadwinner of the family, able to only get farm labour work. In order to survive, he and his siblings were required to take casual jobs during holidays in order to help support their mother and the family. Because of his disability, priority was always given to his siblings, something that eventually resulted in depression and mental health problems.
Despite all these challenges, Maliga excelled in his primary examinations and was even able to join high school. But life was very unpredictable and difficult; at times he was hopeful that he would continue with school, then other times he lost hope, especially when he was forced to engage in menial jobs for survival and defer his schooling. He eventually managed to complete his high school through CDF (Constituency Development Fund) bursaries and fundraisings, even though he had to miss many lessons due to fee arrears and getting casual jobs to survive at home. “Surely,” he thought, “it’s the end which justifies the means.” After finishing school, he finally got his admission letter, he had made it to University! Except he had no way to pay for it.
He didn’t know that the future would be brighter for him in just a short time. It seemed that a university education was out of reach, even though Maliga had tried fundraising from well-wishers. But with the little earnings he had, and a little from his mother, he secured a chance to enrol. Then he heard about ACCES and applied for a scholarship.
Maliga says, “Life can be incredibly challenging, but I have to keep my faith. If I hadn’t been successful in getting an ACCES scholarship, my efforts at going to university may have been defeated. University life is very expensive and my family could not possibly have managed it. I have seen people fall into depression, others commit suicide or drop out of school due to the cursing weight of poverty. I’m so lucky to be an ACCES recipient. I have proven to my society that disability is not inability and my parents have now appreciated my struggle. Thank you ACCES!”
Maliga is motivated to complete his studies and give back to the community by helping others who are vulnerable. He is grateful for your donations and for touching many people’s lives.