JOESEPINA Johannes is not allowing her physical condition to get in the way of her education.

Born and raised at Oshigambo village in the Oshikoto region, the 12-year-old has no arms or legs and uses a wheelchair to get around.

Even though she is unable to do most things on her own like other children, Johannes believes education will one day open doors for her.

She is currently in Grade 5 at Nani Private School and excels in most of her subjects.

“I am disabled, but with faith and hope I believe one day I will be able to be somebody. I depend on my mother and siblings for assistance to move around the house, and I am grateful for having them in my life. I was born with a disability and I will have to learn how to live with it. I will not let it stand in my way,” she says.

Johannes is currently in dire need of a custom-made school desk to enable her to write and study more comfortably.

The desk she uses at school is too high, and she often falls off it, she says.

Johannes’ mother is currently unemployed, and her father is a pensioner who survives on the government’s monthly grant.

Her mother, Hilma Jeremia (45), says Johannes needs financial assistance to cover her basic needs.

She currently receives a monthly disability grant of N$250 from the government.

“It is not enough . . . Her wheelchair is old and she is in need of a new one, but we do not have money to buy her this. I often carry her on my back to and from school if there is no one to drive her to school,” Jeremia says.

She is asking for the public’s assistance with a custom-made wheelchair, which would help Johannes move around with ease, and would improve her concentration at school.

Johannes also needs cosmetics, food and clothes.

The mother of 10 describes her daughter as hard-working, smart and ambitious.

Inge Kambonde, Johannes’s Oshindonga teacher, says the special education department at the Oshikoto education directorate is in the process of acquiring artificial limbs for Johannes.

Kambonde currently accompanies Johannes and her mother to orthopedic therapy and training sessions at the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital.

“Johannes is a good pupil and is very friendly. Her performance is also good. She is never absent from school. She depends on other children to put her on a chair and to get of the chair again. During break time, she would stay in class, while the others are playing outside, because she is unable to get off her chair,” she says.

Kambonde says Johannes is likely to receive artificial limbs early next year.

Nani Private School principal Lungu Juvenalis says Johannes is a gifted pupil, and is good at visual arts.

“She can draw and write very well, and she is able to do almost everything a normal person can except getting on and off a chair on her own,” he says.

He says the government is doing its best to assist by providing her with stationery, school uniforms, and other necessities.

The Oniipa constituency office is also helping Johannes from time to time.

Constituency councillor Vilho Nuunyango could not be reached for comment.

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