I am Mariam Nyambura, I trained in Counseling Psychology and currently working with StepWise Africa.
I’m the second born of three, raised in an extended family with both parents being present. I was never raised by other kids. My mother and grandmother saw it fit to raise me in that manner so that I would not be fully dependent on other people. At that time the only thing I knew was I couldn’t stand and walk, but other things I pushed myself to do them even though it was not as perfect as thus of my age mate at the time.
My support team was my stronghold, they taught me to set goals at the tender age of four years since in that era person with a disability was seen as a curse to the family. Close family members had advised my mother to just do away with me, I would be just a burden to them, I love from my grandmother and mother kept me alive and pushing to date. For five years my family never know my condition, each doctor visit we went to my file would get stolen, only to find out my condition was rare and the doctors were studying my file just to come up with the name for my condition. I just found out 3 years ago that my condition is cerebral palsy.
I attend normal school since coming across the special back in the days was impossible, good thing my family was willing to educate me no matter what, and also get to stand and walk. I took my first at 5 years thanks to Narumoro children’s home after six successful operations and Cure international for the final surgery and therapies. This made going to school more easy even though they were not disability friendly, only in high school is when I attended a special school. College was the most difficult years I encounter so I thought, in Kenya public transport is not a person with a disability. It took me one month to teach the tout how to handle me from home to town, and rainy days are the worst, but I overcame these challenges as they came.
Living with a Disability
Looking for a job as a person with a disability in Kenya was and still the hardest thing, because no one is willing to a chance a person like me, and this at times lower esteem even more. There was one time I thought of suicide, I was frustrated that no one saw my capabilities they only saw limitations and being a burden. It reached a point I gave up on looking for a job and joined a group of youths to do charity events, they became my second support team gained my esteem back.
Working at StepWise
Two years I got a chance to apply for a job a friend had recommended, I never got it at first but the second time I was given a chance to work with StepWise Africa an impact sourcing provider, giving a chance to persons living with disability to be independent and grow ourselves as well as support our family at large. It is an example to other companies to see beyond our disabilities and give users a chance since disability does not define me.
I have learned the best way to overcome the stigma that comes with a disability is to accept yourself, work on your strengths, and be the best vision of yourself you dream of. Disability just means one is abled differently.