By Adewale Adeyanju (INN), Lagos
The Tola Odusanya Life Advancement (T.O.L.A) Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that works to ensure that Deaf people and other people with disabilities have equal access to quality education, comprehensive healthcare and gainful employment, celebrated the 50th Deaf Anniversary of its founder, Dr. Odusanya Odutola Ayorinde with pupils of his alma mater – Wesley school for the Deaf, Surulere, Lagos.
The event which took place in the school hall of Wesley School for the Deaf on Friday 4th, November, 2022 was a time out for pupils to both have fun and meet with Old students who have excelled in their life endeavours and can serve as models for the aspirations of the Deaf pupils.
Addressing the pupils, Dr. Tola Odusanya, who have risen through the ranks to become a Chief Lecturer of Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo, assured the pupils that their aspirations are valid and they can achieve whatever they dream of if they are willing to put in the efforts required. He reiterated the need for consistent learning, improvement and praying as God only bless those who put in the effort.
He also appreciated God for seeing him through it all as he not only conquered his deafness, but also have mentored and still mentors countless Deaf and hearing students who are excelling in their choosen careers.
Speaking at the event to mark the golden jubilee milestone of his journey into life as a deaf person at Wesley School for the Deaf 1 & 2, Surulere-Lagos, Dr. Tola Odusanya narrated how his journey into the silent world of deafness begun and how his parents enrolled him into Wesley School for the deaf because after he lost his hearing he could hardly cope in the hearing school he was attending then.
Reminiscing back about the early years of the School, he narrated how the School was officially declared open on 22 September, 1962. He took the students down memory lane to how he became a student of the institution few years later with tacit support of his parents, how the students related with each other and the learning environment. There and then, he had to work hard to become what he is today.
Dr. Tola advised deaf pupils in the School to be hardworking and diligent and to face their studies because it will soon be their turn. Reminding the students that education is a gift very precious and important in their life journey their parents are toiling to assist them to acquire if they hope to be successful in life.
Speaking at the event, the School’s Principal, represented by Mr. Timothy Abegunde Omotayo (Vice Principal Wesley School for the Deaf 2), a former student of Dr. Odusanya’s, drew attention of the students to when he first met Dr. Tola Odusanya as a student at the prestigious Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo in 1993 (over 29years back) and how Dr. Tola has impacted him and countless other students through education.
He mentioned perseverance, intelligence, brilliance, agility, and charisma as some of Dr. Tola Odusanya’s attributes adding that he is also a philanthropist for his many outreaches, support and interventions in aid of his alma mater – Wesley School for the Deaf, some Deaf people and others.
Another staff of the institution – Mr. Adeleke Adeoye who teaches vocational education attributes Dr. Tola Odusanya’s contributions to the alma mater to his love for the School and hopes other Alumnus of the School will rise to the occasion and assist the School. He testified of T. O. L. A Foundation sponsorship of Sporting events especially table tennis and other Sports in the School and to him all this is worthy of emulation.
The pupils went home elated and inspired as they not only have renewed hopes in their ability to live meaningful and dignified adults lives despite the limitations placed on their aspirations by the society but also got loads of gifts like writing materials, reading books, drawing and coloring materials and other goodies.