By Oyeleke Bernice
Ms Fakunle Bukola is the National Social Secretary of Nigerian National Association of the Deaf. She picked up the pieces of her loss of hearing at age 32 and found more pleasure plus purpose living with the deafness.
Meet Ms Fakunle Bukola as she shares inspiring story to encourage others:
“Following series of punitive slaps to the face from older siblings and a major deafening slap from a brother in-law when I was 12, I gradually lost my sense of hearing. Diagnosis was done five years later and my father was advised to enroll me into a special school because I could not cope with mainstream classroom setting.
I was in SS2 when I was withdrawn from school. I kept repeating classes as my grades fell drastically. My mother began to take me around for spiritual intervention and when no solution was found, I was left at home, out of school.
Loneliness became a partner as I could not join in family discussion. While everyone was talking about head, I would be responding with tail. In my loneliness, I created a shell around myself and took up a hobby in reading and silently serving others.
I wanted to be a Nurse.
I migrated from Ibadan to Lagos to learn auxiliary nursing but no hospital would take me. So I opted to be trained as a Seamstress. It kept me occupied and out of trouble with men as I was very comely and had a lot of advances from men.
After a year at the training, I came back to Ibadan but my father would not take me back saying I left home without his knowledge. So I latched on to a man who came proposing and moved in with him after informal introduction. I took in and had my only son.
Feeling like half and half because I neither completed my secondary education nor sewing training, with the aid of my pastor and church brethren, I went back to complete the latter first.
Seven years later, I decided to work as auxiliary teacher but the proprietor suggested I go back to special school and he led me to Methodist Grammar school, Ibadan, where I saw Deaf students for the first time. I was 32. I wept!
I started Attending classes, learnt sign language and my life took a positive turn as my self confidence and esteem began to rise.
I attended Mount Zion Institute of Christian Drama in 2009 and got admission into Federal College of Education special (FCEs), Oyo the following year to study Theater Arts and was given an award being the student with the highest JAMB score. All through my three years of study, I was sewing.
I now have a workroom close to FCES Oyo campus where Deaf girls are trained in the creative art of sewing.
I also do script editing, screenplay writing and acting.
Learning Sign language was one of the best decision I made in life. It brought marvelous people into my life and fills the vacuum created by family negligence.
It makes me more useful to myself and humanity. I am proud of my Deafness and our ‘Deafinite’ Language.”