“Knowledge is power, Information is liberating …,” Koffi Annan
Sometimes, we underestimate the essence of a one-day training. We tend to find it good for only a refresher as it is short, may be poorly planned and unable to cover in details most of the subject.
But for Asasi Atieno Joyce that was not the case. Hers was a one-day training, a wake-up call, an eye-opener, followed by an intense self-introspection and a journey towards self-revitalization.
Atieno who is an Early Childhood Education (ECD) teacher was inducted into Connecting the Dots Project Training last year in November. She saw it as an opportunity to learn something new just like the other numerous trainings she has attended from other programs courtesy of local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and Disability Persons Organizations (DPOs) in the region but never as an opportunity that will lead to drastic and life changing decision.
Connecting the Dots is a UKAID funded implemented under the Deepening Democracy Programme (DDP) in Siaya County. This project aims at effective engagement of youth with disabilities in governance processes and economic opportunities
Ms. Atieno was introduced to Connecting the Dots trainings by a DPO leader. “I never knew most of my right as a person with disability neither of the available opportunities from the national and county governments. The training was a life changing opportunity as it equipped me with knowledge of the existing laws, policies as well the specific offices especially the Education Office where I could get assistance.” She said.
Ms. Atieno who is an ECD teacher in a private school has never undergone formal training despite having unyielding desire of it. Being married at a tender age and raising her young family on her own following the untimely death of her husband burdened her financially. The meagre salary from her teaching profession was only enough to cater for her basic needs and school fees for her kids but it wasn’t enough for her college fee.
“The training came in handy and at the right time, I was trained on how I could access bursary as a PWD to further my studies. Since age is catching up with me, I needed to move aptly. I went to the County Education Office early this year to inquire how I could access county bursaries so that I could go back to college and gain professional skills in ECD training,” said Atieno.
According to her, the officer in-charge informed her that in order to access bursary for ECD training she had to teach in a public school. The big challenge was to find a job in a neighboring public school for accessibility purposes and one that offers a stipend to enable her pay school fees and support her children as before.
“I moved from school to school in search of a vacancy. It wasn’t easy at first since I have physical disability, but due to my persistence I finally got a job in a neighboring school. I will be teaching at Markuny primary school beginning next term (in May) as I await for Siaya County Government Education Office to process my request so that I can join college,” said an optimistic Atieno.
Ms. Atieno noted that it is never late to pursue one’s dream. “Life begins at 40! I am still 5 years’ shy of 40. We are walking hand in hand with my children, when they are working on their dreams, I will be also working towards mine. It is never too late to achieve a dream whose time has ripen,” she added.