My name is Mewiba Asefa. I come from a town called Wolita Sodo in southern Ethiopia, which is 313 km from the capital Addis Ababa, and 159 km from Dilla University (DU).
After passing the national exams I studied civics and ethical education at Dilla University.
The way to success
The key to my success was my hard work during lessons. In addition to studying hard, I also talked with the teachers and other students to ensure that I could get the most from my lessons.
Challenges faced during campus life
During freshman/ first year I was new to campus life. It was difficult for me to take notes and follow the lectures in the classroom and to use new technologies such as the Dictaphone/ sound recorder, computers, and the JAWS software. I was used to using books printed on Braille before entering university, but at the DU campus, there was no braille material available except in the law department. Due to these reasons, I don’t think that I performed as well as I could have during the first year regarding my grades. The other big challenge on our campus was the inaccessibility of the building and the roads/ walkways for students with disabilities.
With the support of other students, I used the Dictaphone for recording lectures and recorded the handouts with the support of sighted students. Sighted students would read the handout, which we recorded and we then listened to the recordings to study.
Social life at University
I had social interactions both with students with disabilities and with non-disabled students. During the evenings especially I would go for walks with sighted students to refresh myself. Non-disabled students would offer their support even without asking, and I got support from other students with various tasks, from washing clothes up to cleaning my room.
I want to help others, especially persons with disabilities who are really in need. After I find employment, I want to support street children to get a better life and those who are at home without educational access. With the support of different organizations, I will try to provide this educational support.
I want to recommend that Dilla University should be accessible for students with disabilities, in terms of technology, building accessibility, and learning materials.
After the establishment of the center for disabled students and the awareness training for DU employees, there have been some improvements, but more changes are still needed to make the campus more welcoming for students with disabilities.
Finally, I want to thank Dr. Ababu (Lecturer and Director of the center for students with disabilities). As a blind person, he is the role model for my success, was kind and supportive, and even ensured that I was supplied with a personal computer from the center to help with my studies.