MONICA KAYOMBO, Lusaka
THOMAS Lupasha, who was born partially blind and living with albinism, has called on people living with any form of disability to seek ways to challenge the situation and be a source of inspiration.Speaking in an interview recently, Mr Lupasha, who is working as a teacher and transcriber, says he would like to see many visually impaired persons take up challenging jobs. “Being blind should not be a hindrance for anyone. We are like any other human being except we can’t see. We have to rise above board,’’ said the 29-year-old. Mr Lupasha is working as a teacher at Sisabelo Saka inclusive school in Lusaka’s Olympia Park. He says commitment and hard work have helped him get to the level he is. His mother died when he was a child. He was in Grade Three when he was asked to leave for the village to live with his grandmother. He started school at Kapisha Primary School in Chingola on the Copperbelt and later moved to Twateka Basic School in the same town. However, the death of his mother brought a lot of changes in Mr Lupasha’s life, such as moving from Chingola to Mwense district to live with his widowed grandmother. Fortunately, the Catholic community offered to support him academically on condition that he mastered braille in one month. Being the intelligent and committed person that he was, he beat the record by learning braille in two weeks. After that, the Catholic community sponsored Mr Lupasha up to Grade 12 until Government took over when he qualified to go to University of Zambia (UNZA), where he was to be enrolled in the school of special education. He went to St. Mary’s special school for the visually impaired in Kawambwa District and in 2008, at Grade Nine in 2008, he upon bagging 489 marks became second best the entire district. Today, he is a teacher, a holder of a UNZA degree in Special Education with a major in Civic Education. Mr Lupesha is not just a special education teacher but a transcriber, too. He says his growing up was not easy as he was stigmatised by many people. As though stigma was not enough, holidays for Mr Lupasha were a nightmare as he had to keep up with his old grandmother, whose health was failing. Despite her condition, she always had to find a way of fending for her vulnerable grandson. “I felt society’s attitude towards people like me. Others spit saliva on their chests and tummies whenever they see me and anyone like. There are many myths surrounding us. But that doesn’t worry me anymore,’’ Mr Lupashi said.
When at school, he never worried about anything because everything was paid for. “I worried more each time we closed school. My worry was about my grandmother’s struggle to fend for me, she really sacrificed,’’ he says. Upon completing his Grade 12, Mr Lupasha did not know CLICK TO READ MORE