Abidela Delil, a 29-year-old pedagogy student, worked for the state and so got the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and skills by studying at Dilla University. Dilla is one of the three universities taking part in the joint development cooperation project of SYL and its local partner, ECDD, to support the education of students with disabilities. This is Abidela’s story.
The way to success
The three main things that contributed to my success are time management, my learning style, and my own personal inspiration “never give up.”
I tried to ensure that everything I did was in line with my personal plan of being committed to myself in my studies and learning. Time management helped me to take control of my study workload, to achieve more and stress less. I had my own individual schedule which I became accustomed to for everyday activities, reading/studying, and for my social life too. I tried to stick to a set study schedule, which allowed me to stay in control of my academic workload.
I used my own study style to prepare and to make the most of my learning. I attended the classroom regularly and was never absent unless I became sick. While regularly attending lectures I also tried to be an active learner and participate whenever possible. I tried to make sure that my study time and my study environment were ideal, for instance, if I felt stressed during reading time I never tried to read or study anything, I rested by sleeping. I took notes regularly during lecture time from the lecturer’s oral presentations and really tried to connect the notes with the handout/book. The other thing is, as you are aware, that new things are happening all over the globe every day, so I tried to keep myself up to date concerning my department and field of study. I did this by using various methods like browsing the internet, sharing success stories from social media, and reading different books. Generally, when I read something, I tried to concentrate on what I was reading for.
I never give up on challenges and most of the time I try to solve it by myself rather than asking others to do so. “If you ignore all the challenges you faced and do your best to overcome them, you will become successful.”
Challenges faced during campus life
During campus life, I passed through various challenging situations. The major challenges being:
- A lack of time to spend with and stay in contact with my wife and child due to the timing of tests and assignments.
- Financial problems: even though as a government employee I received a scholarship to upgrade my diploma, I still faced financial challenges due to the distance from home and having to provide for my family.
- During campus life, most of the time you are expected to handle all of your own chores and tasks alone. As I had no direct physical support from my family, I had to wash my clothes alone. These types of activates are more challenging for students with a disability, especially those who are physically impaired like me.
- Inaccessibility of the compound: especially the buildings, toilets and classrooms, and the walkways to the dorm and library.
Techniques used to overcome the challenges
Depending on the time and situation I used different techniques to overcome my obstacles.
- Using the internet and reading different books helped me to complete my assignments.
- I asked for support from other non-disabled students in my dormitory to help during washing time, especially to wash my clothes. At least if they proved me with water in a jar/pot I would try to wash my clothes by myself and they would then put the clothes into the sun to dry and take them in at night for me.
- Most of the time I try to manage by myself unless it is too difficult for me. My own personal inspiration makes me strong; both mentally and physically.
Social life at University
I enjoyed spending time with disabled students and nondisabled ones. In my dorm, I shared a room with five other students. Two of these students had disabilities and the other three were non-disabled. I participated equally with both, and most of the time we were all sharing our time, resources, and materials equally within the dorm without any regards towards my impairment. Even during study/reading time, we shared our understandings of the readings we read with each other.
My plan or personal dream is to improve myself by gaining additional academic qualifications. If I could have the opportunity to get a scholarship in the future, I would like to continue with an MA degree.
By getting myself to the highest level of my profession, I want to be a good example and be a role model for others, especially students with disabilities.
As a person with a disability, I want to support others like myself. I passed through numerous challenges and obstacles, but I graduated with a BA. By using this knowledge, I want to support and contribute something to the community.
I would like to particularly express, that students with disabilities should be confident in themselves in achieving their goals and to be what they want to be without any questioning of their potential.
The best thing to overcome challenges, and to pass obstacles is commitment. Whether you are impaired or not anything is possible if you believe in yourself. If you take the steps to fulfill your responsibility you will become successful. If someone starts to do something by saying “It is possible”, and “I can” then he or she can do anything.
Students with disabilities should be involved in the planning of all activates within the campus. Training, similar to the training ECDD provided for students with disabilities should be given widely. Training in the areas of life skill training, self-reliance and self-confidence training, and the life experiences shared during the training time helped me to be confident and to be strong.