Crystal Asige was 16 when she was diagnosed with glaucoma, which led to loss of her eye sight.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in the eye, damaging the optic nerve.
While she didn’t understand the world of disability at that age, she didn’t get the support she needed at the time. She was worried about what to tell her friends and if she will be accepted.
At school, Crystal was tagged lazy and disobedient because she couldn’t do what she used to do anymore. Sadly, no teacher asked her what was wrong; they just punished and humiliated her before other students.
As a result of these, Crystal suffered depression and was only able to overcome it through prayers and also by taking time to mourn the loss of her eye sight.
Crystal misses the small things like seeing someone smile, reading a book and taking long walks by the beach but a major challenge she faces is in the world of dating. With no one to tell her how to go about relationships, Crystal is left to figuring it out on her own.
She told BBC Africa,
I think even before the dating scene, in school, the sexual education for kids who are disabled is non-existent. It’s as though the school system feel like because we are disabled in one way or the other, we don’t want to be in a relationship or we don’t want to experience dating or romance and so, we are not even put in that picture at school when it comes to sex education.
As I have to grow up with my condition, I teach myself, ‘how do I date now? Do I tell somebody before I meet them that I’m visually impaired or should I wait till we can discuss it face-to-face? Because when you tell someone on the phone, they might just cut the phone and never speak to you again, which is what has happened to me quite often but there are some people out there who do understand because they’ve had exposure. Maybe their life’s experience has shown them to
Watch her speak here
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