A 22-year-old physically challenged girl, Miss Maryam Umar, who recently gained admission into Gombe State University has appealed to the state government, Federal Government and Nigerians for support.
Umar, who is a beggar in the state, made the appeal while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Friday.
She said her dream of going to school was about to be cut short by the paucity of funds.
She stated that her dream in life was to empower herself through education, become a successful businesswoman and engage in philanthropic activities to make a positive impact on society.
Umar, who moves from one motor park to another, fuel stations and other public structures to seek for daily bread, said her father was not financially capable of taking care of her education.
According to her, her father and mother are peasant farmers who can barely provide money to feed their eight children.
She said it would be devastating for her if lost the admission and opportunity to go to school.
“I was able to struggle through support from Nigerians and particularly my guardian, Mr Abdon Balanga, who had been doing more than what my father could do and made me sit for my senior secondary examination in 2022.
“I passed my SSCE papers, sat for JAMB and applied for Accounting but I was given Bsc Economics, which is also fine by me.
“But my hope is about to be shattered by lack of funds.
“I want the Gombe State government and the good people of Nigerians to help me through school and also provide school aids to help me cope in school,’’ she appealed.
Umar, who broke down in tears, said she had been begging for nearly a decade and that her only chance at ending street begging was to become a graduate.
“Once I am well educated and I pursue my dream of becoming a successful businesswoman like Aliko Dangote, I will never beg.
“It bleeds my heart that I am begging. I am not responsible for the way I am because I was born without arms and I am the only one like this in my family. We are eight and I am the third.
“I will not be happy if I don’t get educated. That is why I have been studying in spite of the fact that I also beg on the streets.
“I have dreams and my being born armless is not going to stop me. I have all the abilities I need in my disability because there is nothing I don’t do by myself.
“I wash my clothes, pick phone calls, dress myself and even cook with my legs,” she said.
Umar said she would surprise Nigerians if she gets the opportunity to enroll into the University as her aim was to graduate with first class honours.
According to her, she is yet to register in spite of being offered admission over one month ago and all efforts to raise money had so far proved abortive.
She said she would be needing nearly N300, 000.00 to help her pay her fees, get accommodation and other materials that would help her as a physically-challenged person.
“Whatever help I can get will be fine by me,” she told NAN.
While appealing to Nigerians to always support girl-child education, especially physically-challenged girls, Umar advised young girls to be determined and pursue their education with all seriousness.
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