I was not born deaf. I was perfectly normal until life had its turns.
When I was nine years old, I got infected with bacterial meningitis after I brought home my sick classmate. I never thought that my good deed would impair me for the rest of my life.
Life was hard! Making friends was not as fun as it used to because talking to me was difficult for them. I began to detach myself from the world. I learned to depend on my own because the burden of being misunderstood scared me.
At school, I attended regular classes but I was always left out. I would see the things written on the board but missed out on the important discussions in class. I worked and struggled thrice harder than the rest so I could catch up with the lessons I missed.
Shame and embarrassment crept into my soul day after day, losing my self-esteem in the process. I looked low on myself and my abilities. I did not expect better life opportunities, after all, most people with disabilities like me do not even end up with a decent job.
Though I had skills to offer, I accepted menial jobs that use my hands like washing dishes in restaurants and cleaning houses. I knew it was hard but I had to endure because I want to show them that I, too, could be productive and I am not just a burden. Like every person, I have dreams that I want to fulfill.
Things turned when Virtualahan came into my life. After I trained with them, my work opportunities widened. I never knew that I could still do more even if I have this condition. I was able to start my online career in the vast network of the digital economy. I was able to put up an online business of my own. I became an independent online seller and now I am earning twice the amount I was earning then.
I am not just thankful for Virtualahan because of the financial stability they gave, but more importantly, I am thankful that they opened their doors to people with disabilities to have the better chance at life. They gave me a sense of purpose and a network of people who share the goodness of life by uplifting others. They showed me that I should believe in myself despite my impairment.
Life is beautiful and life’s music is sweet.
I am grateful that they let me see life’s beauty and hear its wonderful melodies.
Charina Rose Mae Tenajeros
Hearing loss due to Bacterial Meningitis