By Rudo Svosve
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability in reading. Kids with dyslexia have trouble reading accurately and fluently. They may also have trouble with reading comprehension, spelling and writing. Dyslexia is a lifelong condition that makes it difficult for people to read. It’s the most common learning issue, although it’s not clear what percentage of kids have it. Some experts believe the number is between 5 and 10 percent, (Source: Understood- Understanding Dyslexia)
“What inspired you to start your own organisation for helping dyslexic children?” – That is a question I get asked a lot and I am expected to have an answer for….but my answer is usually long and rumbling and I usually notice people looking at their watches or walking towards the exit while am halfway through explaining. But here is the true motivation behind it all…. I wanted to find purpose in doing something that I loved, something I had passion for. I was looking for something to fight for and to live for…something intriguing and complex…so I began to explore the world of neuroscience. I stumbled upon an online course on supporting children with learning disabilities with much focus on Dyslexia.
The profound nature of dyslexia and its dreadful implications drew my attention. In February I met Luke, who is now an old man in the United States, he went through a difficult time during his school days, until he had to drop out. At 69 he has no formal education and his job is to clean toilets and mop the floors of office buildings. Now, if you think that’s so unfair just hang on…..since junior level Luke loved to draw. It was, for some reason, his excuse for not paying attention in class, he said he would rather feel like just another object in class maybe a chair or the teacher’s desk than having to be humiliated and made to feel stupid or unwilling to learn. He would draw amazing art, soo amazing the teacher wouldn’t figure out how a brilliant child could not just read! Even years after he’d dropped from school, he continued his love for art…to me what hurt me the most is how explicit he continues to expresses his dream of becoming a space craft designer. The most hurtful part is when an old man still has dreams of becoming a better person when technically it’s already too late!
It is sad that in our African countries talking about dyslexia is almost like a taboo, the term ‘dyslexia’ is tainted with abuse and an inappropriate exploitation. Dyslexic children are labelled dull, stupid or lazy. Parents are not ready to be told their child has this neurological condition and sometimes I feel teachers are fearful to even suggest a child might have this condition! So what will happen…?
I saw this condition as a problem and I wanted to find a solution, I wanted to do whatever it takes to end the traumatic experiences of Dyslexics. Dyslexia has a high prevalence affecting 1 in 5 people. Translated, in an average class of 35 students, 7 are most likely to have the condition. Yet we do not quite have extensive knowledge of it. In fighting this condition I go to bed every day with a deep sense of goodwill and deep confidence in my humanity and acquired knowledge that I am a good person. I am a catalyst of change. An enabler but alone I am inadequate…
I had a deep passion to make the world a better place for someone to live in, my joyful labour was in transforming this intangible noun into something you can see, feel and touch. And so I bore The Petty Meraki Foundation…. At this point I invite all organisations that are into social entrepreneurship, government ministries, parents and teachers associations, especially the dyslexic community to come and join us as we launch our organisation on the 15th of September 2018. By choosing to attend the event or by offering support of any form, you are taking an active role in efforts to protect thousands of dyslexic children as well as adults.