Her motto is – I can be successful even without my hands…..
tale is eccentric! What could have made her live her entire life in
obscurity, total dependence and waste has turned her into a celebrity.
Usually, we hear of such only on the big screen and hardly see it happen
before our very eyes. Patience was born with deformed hands, but unlike
most persons with disability, she was not immune to self-worth.
Like every normal child, she desired to be fulfilled in life, and
therefore continued to strive towards accomplishment despite the odds.
After her Senior School Certificate Examination in 2001 however, all
attempts to clear her General Certificate of Education (GCE) examination
ended in futility. After giving up on all for two years, she finally
had her breakthrough when she decided on a final trial and this awarded
her a scholarship, employment and accommodation. Ijeh Patience, in this
inspiring encounter, shares her tale.
Her dream of furthering her education and becoming a lawyer was
hindered for ten years by no fault of hers- her birth 31 years ago at a
hospital in Delta State encountered some complications.
“I was not properly positioned in the womb, so, I was already coming
out with my hands. As the nurse pushed me in and tried to reposition me
to come out normally, my hands got deformed because I was being turned
all over and nobody knew of it”, she explained.
Miraculously, Patience did not have to attend a special school like
most handicapped children because she intuitively found an alternative
the first time she came across the chalk and slate- she placed the chalk
between her toes and began learning to write just as her peers at
Ikeliki Primary School, Delta State, placed the chalk between their
To her, this wasn’t abnormal, especially as other children didn’t
stare at her, except for some adults who looked at her embarrassingly as
she grew up. She soon began to fold her arms in shame as soon as she
Amazingly, she was doing well at school, Patience dreamed of becoming
a lawyer and never hesitated to tell anyone who cared to listen.
“Education will be difficult for you because of your disability. Look
for something simple to do. Learn a trade. Something small and easy”,
many told her pitifully, but she wouldn’t let her disability obscure her
Trouble, however, brewed when 2002 SSCE results for Saint Roses Girls
Grammar School, Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, which she sat for, were
withheld. That heralded a new beginning for her struggles, and she
became a regular candidate for the General Certificate of Education. Her
scripts were continuously seized without explanations. “Perhaps they
were suspected for being slightly dirty and rumpled”, she thought.
A few years later, she moved to Benin-City, Edo State from Delta
State to reside with an elder brother, being the last and only daughter
of five children. An ambitious Patience didn’t want to be idle, so, she
immediately enrolled for a diploma at TCM, a computer training institute
in Benin City. Guess what!! In few months, she had gained mastery of
the computer, using her legs!
“I explained to them when I was enrolling that I would have to use my
legs, and they understood. I competed very well with the other
students, except that I had to put my own keyboard on the floor”, she
As she moved to Lagos in 2007 to reside with another elder brother,
Patience was excited she could now operate the computer, and she went in
search of a job. Sadly, she was turned down by a couple of employers
who claimed they couldn’t put their keyboard and mouse on the floor
because of her.
Frustration sets in
The thought of her inability to clear her A’ levels coupled by this
rejection by employers soon began to wane her optimism and she doubted
if she could ever become an undergraduate, not to mention being a
“I began to lose hope on my dream, especially two years ago. I
considered accepting my fate and settling for less. Maybe education
wasn’t for me like I was earlier advised. I began to ponder on small and
easy things that I could try my hands on like people had advised me”.
Last year, however, as she heard news of her peers making diverse
progress, her sanguine spirit came alive once again. Patience, now 31,
who had decided three years ago to accept her fate and stop further
trials, suddenly decided to enroll for the 2012 GCE examination.
Being a member of the Living Faith Church, Ota, throughout the annual
Shiloh last December, she decided to sit outside the auditorium,
calling on God to intervene in her case, and, this time, He showed up.
Patience came out with her six credits: C5 in Biology and C6 in
Literature in English, Economics, Government, Mathematics and English
Language! What beautiful reward for Patience who soon became the joy of
many as she was given a job, scholarship and accommodation by Swiss
Biostadt Limited, a famous healthcare company in Lagos.
“I’m grateful to God and to Swiss Biostadt for the opportunity to
further my education. Getting education is my dream because I want to
prove to the world that no matter how one was born, one can still make a
difference. My advice to other people who might have one form of
disability or the other is to never give up”, she enthused.