Deaf Nigerian Profile 007: I Was Considered A Dullard In School, Learning Sign Language Helped Me Discover Myself – Ms Charity James, North Central Zonal Coordinator Of DTAN

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By Oyeleke Bernice

Ms Charity is the first Deaf lady to chair a state branch (Plateau state) of Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD). She is currently the National women leader of NNAD and North Central Zonal Coordinator of Deaf Teachers Association of Nigeria (DTAN). She is also one of the steering committee member of gallaudet in Nigeria proposed University representing NNAD.

She runs a restaurant at Plateau and currently a civil servant in Plateau state. She, together with her team, has successfully organized different trainings for Nigerian deaf women. Ms Charity has participated in different local and international deaf conferences.

Meet Ms Charity James as she shares inspiring story to encourage others:

My name is Charity ufareh James. I was born hearing and attended hearing school. As a hearing child, I was considered one of the dullards in school because I couldn’t solve simple arithmetic problem correctly or recite my alphabet. I could not even spell my name.

MY JOURNEY INTO DEAFNESS:

On a fateful day at school, I accompanied a friend to the toilet and stood outside waiting for her return. While waiting outside I just felt a sudden blow inside my ear and then I felt dizzy. I was taken to my class teacher who checked my body temperature and sent me home. I was led home by some of my classmates and met my elder sister, while parents were at work and there was no use of mobile phone then. My sister asked me to sleep. While lying on the couch, I was hearing sound of children playing outside, laughing and running. And gradually, the volume of the sound began fading away till I couldn’t hear them again. I woke up and found myself on bed but the room and everywhere was rather strangely silent. My sister informed my Dad that I was brought home from school ill when he arrived from office. So, he came to meet me in the room and was talking to me but I could not hear him. The news of my deafness broke in my family and it was a sad moment. I was treated of that illness and recovered but I didn’t recover my hearing.

Following my recovery from the illness, I developed unusual interest in schooling. I started disturbing my Dad to enroll me at school, despite that I wasn’t serious with academics when I was hearing. My dad later got information about a special school run by department of Special Education, University of Jos and he enrolled me there. On the first day at deaf school, I was so excited and ready to learn. After I returned from school everyday, I would study on my own and perfect my signing skill. My new found interest at learning was a surprise to my parents. I learnt so fast because I put my heart at it. I later had my Diploma and then my first degree qualification at University of Jos

Sign language has helped me to discover myself and have a language for communication and socialization.

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