As a young girl, Videliz Njoki, was her father’s darling. The two were Siamese twins, inseparable, and wherever the dad was so was the daughter. At the age of 5, as it was their norm, the little princess accompanied her dad to run errands in Nairobi town, little did she know that would be a life changing experience.
As fate would have it, she wasn’t spared from the tragic effect of the1998 US Embassy Bomb blast in Nairobi Kenya. The trajectory of her life changed completely, though she wasn’t injured, she was deafened for life.
The young bubbly girl struggled to accept the new reality of the acquired disability. Fitting in a mainstream school was not easy as she underwent speech therapy. She wasn’t spared from discrimination by the pupils and teachers who were less aware of disability inclusion. However, this did not deter her from burning the midnight oil to ensure she succeeds in education. She has been able to find her way to tertiary education where she’s currently a finalist Diploma student pursuing Social Work.
Though Covid19 has interrupted the school calendar, it has been a blessing in disguise for Videliz Njoki who grabbed the opportunity to volunteer with various Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and Community Based Organizations in ensuring a disability inclusive Covid19 response. The Deaf Queen is also a Disability Champion at Action Network for the Disabled.
Her zeal and determination has seen her getting the lead role in the recently premiered series City Girl by Signs TV. Through the eight episode drama, Eva– her stage name, is able to relay information on the taboo subject of Sexual and Reproductive Health to the Deaf Community who are often left out because of communication barrier. Her passion for acting emanated when she was a child, but she made her debut in the competitive industry two years ago when she got a role on Silent Cry movie.
Despite remarkable strides in the acting industry, Videliz journey hasn’t been a walk in the park. She has endured discrimination and came out strongly. “Majority of producers deny us opportunities to act because of our inability to voice. We really need to sensitize them on disability inclusion as they end up leaving out a large talent pool,” She lamented.
She urges persons with disabilities never to stop believing in the beauty of their dreams, and they can be anything they want to be in life. “Nothing comes easy, you have to explore and focus what you love as you trust the process, your efforts will pay someday,” said Videliz
Faustine Chepchirchir is the Communications & Media Officer for the Innovation to Inclusion Programme at Action Network for the Disabled.