By Tope Templer Olaiya
Life sometimes could be cruel and hard. For 17-year-old Somtochukwu Emmanuel Chiagorom and his sister, 13-year-old Nneoma Scholastica Chiagorom, they are served both in full measure.
Both are not only orphans but suffering from impaired hearing and are vocally impaired, which in local parlance is being deaf and dumb.
The siblings lost their father 10 years ago and in 2016, had the double misfortune of losing their mother to the cold hands of death. Their only strong pillar of strength was gone and their world came crashing with no one else to share their pains with.
After many days and nights of stuttering to themselves, ‘God, why us?’, they gradually began to come to terms with their realities in the heart of the Kirikiri town ghetto, Apapa area of Lagos State under the care of the frail hands of their maternal grandmother, Mrs. Catherine Eze.
When The Guardian visited the duo in their one-room apartment, nothing betrayed the harsh life they have experienced in their short years. Though a bit withdrawn, they looked intently on, watching the grimaces on everyone in the room, which included a sign interpreter, Mrs. Patience Yekini and two family members, as if waiting for their turns to join the conversation, as their grandma told their life’s story.
“He no dey easy at all, na only God dey help us. I just had an eye operation. That is why I need help from government and the public to lift this burden off me, which I have been carrying all alone for the past two years,” Grandma Eze said.
Somtochukwu is a JSS 2 student of State Junior Grammar School, Surulere and Nneoma is a Primary Four pupil of Amuwo Odofin Primary School. They are both doing very well academically.
The guy is very intelligent despite his handicap, while his sister has more interest in vocational skills. They are desperate about their education and despite their challenge, want to complete their secondary school and advance further.
Somtochukwu is presently the captain of his class. He is shy and finds it hard to communicate but his sister is more social. She tries to speak by picking up little words.
Surprisingly, when in his element, Somtochukwu is a delight to behold, apart from his dexterity in sports; he is good with fixing electrical appliances and wiring people’s houses. Both don’t have difficulty playing with their peers.
It is a struggle for Grandma Eze to provide means for the only thing they derive joy from, which is going to school as transportation to the two special schools they are attending costs N1,000 daily, excluding feeding, which makes it N1,500.
It would cost their aged caregiver about N180,000 alone, excluding school fees, just to keep them in school for a term of 120 days; reason they seek the public’s help in making their life meaningful.
Catherine Eze can be reached on 08066455315 and her bank details are: First Bank, Catherine Eze, 3054056276.