Mayi Nanfuka

Mayi lost her hearing at the age of eight when she fell ill. Her family was poor, and her father saw no reason in channeling their scarce resources to her. However, her mother insisted in sending her to a deaf primary school to be educated. In 2000, Mayi was brought to Good Samaritan. After seven years, she graduated from Good Samaritan and applied to attend the Masaka Vocational Rehabilitation Centre to learn some vocational skills. She waited at home for two years, but there simply was not an available spot for her. Frustrated, both mother and daughter started looking around for an apprenticeship. They were denied repeatedly, but finally located a shop owner who was willing to take her in. However, it was very difficult for her to learn since the transfer of knowledge happened through sheer observation. Worse, she was physically abused when she made mistakes. She knew how fortunate she was to have such a chance to learn. So, she held her anger and acquiesced in the ill-treatment that befell her. After a few years, she gathered enough money to start her own business.

Mayi presently owns a small hairdressing saloon on Kampala Road in Masaka Town. She has a catalogue from which her customers choose the hairstyle they prefer. She is able to speak very softly to her customers and relies on lip-reading to glean further information. She earns about 20,000 UGX a day and accepts a few deaf students who are eager to learn hairdressing techniques from her. She is fairly contented with her life and intends to start a family soon.

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