Blind student defeated all odds and graduated from UKZN

Blind student defeated all odds and graduated from UKZN

- Ntombizodwa Chiya graduated with her Honours in Education on Tuesday, despite her being blind

- She encountered many challenges whilst conducting her research but she conquered them all

- She has become an example for other to not give up no matter their circumstances

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To succeed in life, a disability should not stand in your way! This was proven by a blind student from KZN.

Studying at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Ntombizodwa Chiya graduated with Honours on Tuesday.

“Most people who are blind, don’t consider themselves on the same level as able-bodied people. This thinking must stop. We are capable of so much, our loss of sight should not stop us from achieving our dreams. Blind people should educate themselves, and not see themselves as burdens,” said Chiya.

In a statement from the university it was stated that Chiya was born into a family where her father and aunts are blind with her nephew having partial sight

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“Although Chiya never had sight, it did not deter her from studying for her degree. She says she owes much of her success to hard work, perseverance, strong will and determination”.

Chiya was very young when she lost both her parents. Her graduation was attended by her sister and this was a special moment for her knowing her sister was able to see her receive her postgraduate degree.

“Her research looks at language discrimination in KwaZulu-Natal schools. She found that pupils who came from homes where both English and the mother-tongue language was spoken, tend to mix up their languages resulting in poor academic performance,” the statement read.

In order for pupils to perform to the best of their ability, Chiya suggested in her research, that mother-tongue languages such as isiZulu be selected as a medium of instruction and teaching in KwaZulu Natal schools.

There were many challenges that Chiya encountered while doing her research. She had to rely mainly on electronic means for research purposes, such as e-books.

“She relied on her own software application on her computer which read out parts of journal articles and information for her to hear and type out. She touch-typed her entire thesis but used editing services to make corrections to grammar, punctuation and formatting.

“Chiya hopes to one day use the knowledge she gained from her research and personal experiences, to establish an NGO (non-governmental organisation) that advocates for blind people and helps raise awareness around disability issues and the impact it has on the psyche of disabled people,” the university said.

Chiya is a fantastic example for others and she encourages students with disabilities to follow their dreams and not give up.

“Strive for your best. Focus on yourself,” said Chiya who is currently completing her Masters in Education.

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