Whoever thinks being visually challenged is the end of life’s vision is not talking about Jennifer Chikaodi Ejiogu, a visually impaired corps member with a vision of love.
What else can one say about this extraordinary corps member, who despite the fact that she cannot see or move around without a guide, has shown the way to others?
Jenny as Miss Ejiogu is fondly called by her colleagues, is a Batch A 2017 stream 1 Corps member currently serving in Anambra State.
When she was posted to serve at the Rehabilitation Centre for the physically-challenged located at the serene Oba town in Idemili South Local Government area of Anambra State, the first thing the Imo State born corps member noticed was the high number of inmates who suffer from malaria due to absence of window netting.
Recalling her first night experience upon arrival at the rehabilitation centre, Jennifer said, “The mosquitoes make sleeping in the hostels uncomfortable and I know I have do something to improve the situation.”
She also learnt subsequently that many of the physically-challenged who participates in rehabilitation at the centre could not afford walking aids like wheel chairs and crutches. Touched by the predicament and challenges of the inmates, the mass communication graduate of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, decided to contribute her quota to make their life better.
She started by organizing the cleaning and fumigation of the centre to keep insects and dangerous reptiles at bay. The fumigation exercise was followed by “operation secure all windows “with window nets to keep off mosquito, which causes malaria.
Today, she made sure all hostels at the centre has been painted and fixed with window nets and the incidences of malaria have reduced drastically.
She went on to carry out HIV sensitization programmes for about 60 physically-challenged persons in Oba community, purchased some clutches and a wheel chair, donated 150 exercise books to primary school pupils and made a Zebra sign at the road intersection leading to her place of primary assignment. There had been frequent accidents involving inmates of the centre trying to cross the road.
Recently, her series of projects were commissioned by officials of the Anambra Secretariat of the National Youth Service Corps, Anambra State Ministry of Social development, Children and Women Affairs, Anambra State Ministry of Youth and Entrepreneurial
Development, and Federal Road Safety Corps.
The visibly impressed officials were present at the event venue in Oba. The Anambra Commissioner for Youth and Entrepreneurial Development, who was represented by Stella Ezeakum, praised the corps member for her contributions to the development of the state through her project and described her as a role model all physically-challenged people should emulate.
The State Coordinator of the NYSC in Anambra State, who was represented by the Assistant Director in charge of Community Development Services (CDS), Ifeanyi Ezeajughu, expressed satisfaction with the projects executed by the corps member and challenged other corps members to learn a lesson from the dedication and resourcefulness of Miss Ejiogu.
He said, “If a corps member like Jennifer could make a wonderful impact and add value to the society , I wonder why other corps members would not leave a legacy in communities where they serve.”
Other dignitaries who attended the event include the Special Adviser to the Anambra State Governor on Disability Matters, Chukwuka Betrand Ezewuzie; the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development, Children and Women Affairs, Azuka Ofomata; the Coordinator of the Rehabilitation Centre, Kanu Dozie Uzodinma; FRSC Assistant Corps Commander in charge of Ekwusigo area, Henry Igwe; NYSC Zonal Inspector, Onitsha,Kalu Okorie; NYSC Local Government Inspector Idemili South , Augustina Obinero and one of the project sponsors Paul Chukwueze; President General, Abazu Automous Community. He praised the corps member for her steadfastness towards society.
The occasion also featured the presentation of a wheelchair and clutches to beneficiaries, including Ezike Chiamaka, who received double crutches; Maduka Obi, who got a crutch and Chukwuma Emmanuel who received a wheelchair.
Speaking at the occasion, Miss Ejiogu, who shed tears of joy, said she embarked on the projects due to her love for humanity and a deep desire to ease the life of fellow physically-challenged people. She expressed appreciation to all those who helped her to realize her projects.
Speaking at the event, a visually-challenged inmate of the Centre said, “What I learnt from her (Jennifer) is encouragement. She is visually challenged like me. But despite that, she did not despair.”
Perhaps what Jennifer has shown through her selfless service to humanity is what the Contemporary American Poet and philosopher Criss Jami has observed in his immortal poetry book, Salome: “In every inch, in every mile, If love is blind, then maybe a blind person that loves has a greater understanding of it.”
Mr. Obiekwe sent this in from the Anambra State secretariat of the National Youth Service Corps.