INTRODUCTION

Mr. Tony Nwokolo grew up in Sapele, Delta State and he is the sixth of eight children in his family. Tony Nwokolo, a many time Outstanding Student Award Winner, is the Proprietor of Hope Fountain School for the Deaf, Ijaiye-Ojokoro, Lagos State. The school received an award from Lagos State Government for High Impact Contribution to the Development of Deaf Education in Lagos State in the year 2013.

Meet Tony Nwokolo as he shares his story with Inclusive News Network (INN) to encourage others

JOURNEY INTO DEAFNESS

When I was age 9, I suffered from febrile illness which resulted to my deafness. After I became deaf, my parents took me here and there in search of solution. I was taken to churches, prayer houses, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UNTH-Enugu, Rev. Fr. Edeh’s Healing Ministey at Elele Rivers State and so many other places all in a bid to restore my hearing. But all effort was to no avail.

I thought I was the only Deaf person in the world because there were not many deaf people in Sapele. My father sought for a Deaf school and found one in Sapele. He enrolled me there. However, he wanted me to attend the best Deaf school in Nigeria. That was how he brought me to Ibadan and enrolled me into Ibadan School for the Deaf, Ijokodo.

Upon completion of my primary school, I proceeded to Ijokodo High School, Ibadan. The school had a mixed population of Deaf and Hearing students in ratio 3:7. Nevertheless, I graduated from the school as the best graduating student in the year 1991 with seven distinctions. So also, while I was in SS2, In the year 1990, there was a National Essay Competition for Secondary Schools by the then Honourable Education Minister, Late Prof. Babs Fafunwa. At the state level of the competition, I was adjudged the best while I clinched the 4th position at the National level among twenty other participants.

After I completed my secondary education, I proceeded to the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. I studied Fine and Applied Arts. Some years after this, I obtained a Certificate in Deaf Grass Root Advocacy and International Leadership from the Gallaudet University, Washington D.C., USA. Even in my tertiary programmes, I maintained excellent academic record.

I worked at various places as Instructor /Teacher of Deaf children, Head Teacher, Graphic Artist, printer, Illustrator and Writer in different parts of the country. I established The Hope Fountain School for the Deaf in the year 2004. The school is located at Ijaiye-Ojokoro, Lagos State. It provides primary and secondary education for Deaf students.

ADVICE
I advise parents of Deaf children to show equal affection to their Deaf children as their other children without disabilities. Parents should enroll their Deaf children in a Deaf school early. It is easier to teach a Deaf child sign language between the ages 0-3 years than older ages.

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