“If all humans have rights and are equal, why are sections of society marginalized and discriminated against? Why are persons with disabilities flatly denied these rights?”
At the age of thirteen, I acquired a visual impairment and was forced to leave school because the administration could not accommodate me and the new challenges and responsibilities that would be thrust upon them. In the blink of an eye, my status was reduced from the top performer in my class to a person with a disability and a person without purpose.
For two years I felt dejected, depressed and carried false hope that somewhere, some ophthalmologist would be able to restore my vision and my life would return to normal.
However, this was not the case, and I was forced to face my fears when I saw my classmates graduating from secondary school. That was the moment I felt the brunt of my situation and decided that a change was necessary.
In 2011, I registered as a person with a disability in my country and became a member of the Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) Young Voices Guyana (YVG) and the Guyana Society for the Blind (GSB). This acceptance of my condition was the most important decision in my life. I began and completed computer training in Jobs Access With Speech (JAWS), after which I took the Caribbean Secondary Examinations (CSEC). Out of the examinations programme, I finished as the top student and immediately enrolled in the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) to become a trained teacher in English and Science.
The organizations mentioned above provide educational opportunities for many persons with disabilities, including myself. It is because of this acknowledgement and my gratitude for this support that I too have become a disability rights advocate and a representative of many unheard and ignored voices in the disabled community. And thanks to the Education Commission, I am able to express my passion for and champion these rights on the international stage.
I believe that education is the key to success, and in my roles as an advocate and a classroom practitioner, I serve to educate and empower people, especially youths with disabilities, to reach beyond the horizon and take charge of their lives.
Rosemarie Ramitt is a co-chair of the Education Commission’s Youth Panel. You can read more about her work here.
Watch her video encouraging others to join the Education Youth Video Challenge below.