Recently I met a smart, determined child name Victoria Maizee. Victoria is 14 years old and was born blind.
A gentleman who works with an organization called Destined Kids, contacted me several weeks ago asking for help for a child “his heart reaches out to”. After few calls and persistence, I stopped to meet the family after work and immediately I felt a tug in my heart as well.
Victoria is in the 8th grade and attends a community school in the NeZoe community in Monrovia.
Her story (and that of many others in her condition is heartwarming). At 7 am daily, Victoria’s 8 year old younger brother Noah -who is not blind-walks her to school daily (he is not currently enrolled in school) and returns home to help his parents around the house. Victoria has to rely on a friend in her class to copy the notes which she then takes home and have someone from the neighborhood read to her while she transcribes to Braille on poster sheets.
Despite these challenges, she still excels in her lessons and this past 1st period, she came up with an average of 90%. Remarkable!
Victoria attended the Liberia School of the Blind where she learned how to write Braille and other much needed basic life skills.
I met her mother Deddeh- who also happens to be blind- who told me that she was not born blind, but contracted Measles at 16 years old and it affected her eyesight. She went to several hospitals during the war years, seeking treatment, but it did not help, she still lost her sight. She said, this led her to stop going to school and she stopped in the 5th grade.
She told me that not long after, she was fortunate to be part of the group of women trained in Cote D’Ivoire where she was taught how to bake, a skill that she and her family now relies on to feed and sustain them. She bakes daily and sells short bread, corn bread etc., which she sells right in front of her home. I have promised to one day watch her do this!
Her husband she told me was also not born blind, but like her, got ill and lost his eyesight. He is currently unemployed and ill. He was not at home at the time I went there.
I asked Victoria how is she able to cope with school, being the only blind child there. She told me that it is difficult but she is determined to finish high school at the minimum.
The school is very supportive and also has a teacher who is blind who recently graduated from Cuttington University. When I spoke to him, he indicated that being a blind person, “you have to be double smart! No play play”. He said he is very supportive of little Victoria and always encourages her to stay determined and true to herself. That she could be the first one in her family to graduate from high school if she continues on this path.
Victoria was quite shy in telling me her learning needs and after a bit of prompting, shyly said that a small typewriter would go a long way in helping her type up her notes daily
Victoria is currently being supported academically by KEEP with tuition support, educational supplies and other needed items that supports her remaining in school.
If you would like to help support her education in any way, please contact me inbox