Ngong Peter Tonain is a PhD student in one of the most renowned universities in his country. He does so many things which go to confirm the often repeated statement that disability is not inability. Peter willingly granted our invitation to be our second guest on this blog. For the first thrilling interview you may click here.
Thank you for inviting me as guest on your very inspiring blog. I find your forum very humanizing, enlightening, interesting, motivating, and inspirational. The name “Your Success Inspirer” fits squarely with what you are doing here.
You are a PhD student in the Catholic University. What shall you be reading?
I shall be reading Anthropology. This is a social science discipline which links man to his society.
What are your dreams? What do you hope to do after your PhD?
Anthropology is the holistic and humanistic study of man. Firstly, I desire to become a consultant in any organization; be it public or private; wherein analyzing human behavior shall be my priority to be deployed for sufficiency and efficiency. Secondly, I would wish to insert myself into academia where I can pick up a lecturing job for the molding of young people and others.
How do you intend to finance your studies in CATUC. We all know it is a high quality University and expensive? Where shall you get money to pay for tuition and buy other special needs?
Definitely, it’s hard considering that I am a student with special needs and for the moment I have no sponsor. I depend solely on my family which is candidly necessitous and barely able to survive. As you rightly say, the fee is high. The entire tuition and supervision fee for a period of three academic years is 5,250,000 FCFA (10,500$). Taking into cognizance the scarce and expensive Braille equipment coupled with other logistics the entire studies shall cost me approximately 10,000,000 FCFA (20,000$). Honestly, I do not know where this will come from. If no one helps, of course, I shall be forced to put an end to my most cherished dream. Even as you speak to me classes have begun and I am still at home. However, I place my trust in God. I believe the financial constraint I am having is a mere difficulty and not an impossibility to overcome. To this effect, I humbly make this clarion call to the people of God listening reading this now to kindly assist me in one way or the other if they can. No amount of help can be too small. Little drops of water, we say, make a mighty ocean. God’s gift is embedded in me. Please, help me to develop it so that I may use it for the glory of his name.
You are visually impaired. How did you get to where you are? I mean going to school, having a B. Sc and an M. Sc and now reading for PhD? How have you managed it when many people who are not visually impaired cannot?
I can only praise God for that. Sincerely, it has not been a bed of roses. It has been His doing all through. Then there is my elder brother. His indefatigable support, my preceding employment gains and some significant help from Lilian Fund Foundation have all contributed to take me to where I am.
Furthermore, it has also been a blend of hard work, self-assertiveness crowned by the fear of the Lord. This is the combination which has done the trick for me.
I see truly that disability is not inability
Disability is not inability. Be you visually deficient or not, you can do what you want. It may interest you to know that right through my studies with my sighted peers, I have habitually been the best or amongst the best of my class mates. The great contributions of persons with disabilities in the political, economic and social arenas stand out clearly. Let me make special mention here of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who, despite the fact that he was on a wheelchair, he rescued America from the great depression.
It can never be over said that to be disabled does not mean one is incapable or incompetent in performing tasks. Thus, demystifying and satirizing that societal misconception of regularly associating and misconstruing one’s disability with one’s ability.
I must say despite what you say, I am intrigued by the fact that you go on the net as every other person. You read things; do research and write comments to posts or articles. You comment more than every other person on my blog (at the time of this interview). How are you doing this?
It is thanks to the advent of adaptive and assistive technological devices. It just suffices for me to install a speech software for the visually impaired (a screen reader) known as JAWS on any computer like the one in front of you who are reading this interview, to autonomously have full access to all its applications and workings.
What attracts you to this blog to the extent that you spend a lot of your time on it?
First of all, the caliber of the man behind it; a veteran teacher and journalist who possesses a reservoir of knowledge needed to be tapped by humanity, especially young people like myself. As a matter of fact, each time I come to this blog I learn from the scintillating posts, and brilliant comments made by other visitors. I appreciate munificent talents.
Who are some of the people who inspire you or have inspired you?
I reserve special tribute to God Almighty first. On the international scene I like to cite Sir David Blunkett, the British Home Secretary to Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister. Back at home, there is Somb Lingom Jean-Pascal, a journalist with the state Radio and Television Corporation. These two personalities have left and continue to leave indelible marks in their respective portfolios regardless of their visual impairment.
What is your philosophy of life? I mean what is your guiding principle?
I try to live by the rule which says “Do onto others what you will like others to do on to you”. This keeps me moving with that love for mankind and in the pious hope of reciprocity no matter the moment in time.
Did you take a New Year resolution at the start of this year? What is it?
Yes, I did. In 2015, I am determined to refrain from any companions who lack integrity and to strengthen my faith in the Almighty. Furthermore, I desire to step up my selfless and advocacy roles for the disabled and the destitute of the society.
What is your advice to people with disabilities who are just sitting and waiting for charity instead of going out to try their way through as you are doing?
First and foremost, I will urge them not to be scared by life’s trials. They should be push full, open and assertive rather than resigning to fate and chance in spite of the difficulties born of their condition.
Is there any word to the world? To those who are going to read this interview?
I will commence by thanking them for creating that time to read this interview and to know me. Again, I will sincerely plead with all and sundry to become crusaders for people with disabilities. They should go closer to people with disabilities, PWDs, in order to get to know more about their welfare and ways of life instead of treating them based on assumptions. It is a truth that most PWDs no longer see their conditions as a set-back but the attitudes of most persons in the society tend to render them disabled and destitute. What we implore is empathy and not sympathy from fellow brothers and sisters.
Lastly, I urge all those who are reading this to stand by me in any way they can.
It has been my pleasure. Again, I thank you for inviting me. You can count on me to make myself available at any time you need me. May you kindly keep the flame of this very inspiring and useful blog burning. It is a blessing to humanity.
Ngong Peter Tonain is a visually impaired PhD student in the Catholic University of Cameroon, Bamenda. You can get to him through Cell.: (+237)677362657 or 695350107.