Esther Anyango Oloo
My name is Esther Anyango Oloo. I’m also simply called Mrs. Oloo by my professional teaching peers and students at school. In the community and neighborhoods I’m known as ‘Mama Dota’. Dota is the nickname of my first girl, Dorothy Amondi – the pearl of the family in whose birth some 24 years ago has defined the winding path and life journey to be who my family is today. That is a story for sharing on another day. I’m a linguistic minority, also known as Deaf by disability even though I do not consider less of myself having a disability, save for the disabling environment that seems to stubbornly confine me into that unnecessary description.
As I already said, I’m a proud Deaf mother of twelve children- ten beautiful girls and 2 handsome boys-with all, but one, in school. My husband, Martin Oloo is also Deaf. Of [our] twelve children only one is an adopted daughter [who is also] Deaf; the rest are biological and hearing. No wonder, some of community members have come to nickname me “The Project,” [a] reference to the number of children I’ve given birth to. It is [not] my job to stop them from talking that way about me, but [it] is my job not to let their insinuation and attitude affect me. So in that negativity rests a wealth of inspiration and greater self-esteem, more so when I see my children growing up healthy and upright in morality and character.
I’m a Special [Needs] Education trained Teacher (SNE) by profession. My career path has been one of struggle, resilience, extreme hard work, and commitment. My husband and I brought up our big family together despite very limited resources we have and still managed to pursue further education. I’m a Diploma graduate in Special Needs Education (SNE) at the Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) – Nairobi, Kenya. I’m currently enrolled for a three year Degree course in SNE at Kenya University, Nairobi. This has been made possible through the generous and timely support of Women’s International Fund for Education (WIFE). Through university education, especially for Deaf women like me, the future can only look better in terms of job placement and community leadership.
Outside the family and career circle, I’m a community supporter and advocate for issues on disability, marriage and family counseling, gender activism and hygiene, and environment[al] promotion and advocacy. I am so passionate about things that promote family values, rights, and wellbeing.
I would describe myself as a strong willed woman. [I am also] hardworking, focused, family [oriented], patient yet goal and result [driven]. Becoming a mother at very tender age I’ve weathered so many challenges. My dream in life is to become an influential and inspiring women leader in our country, Kenya; especially on education of the Deaf. I derive greater inspiration from the fact that I’ve learn[ed] to get in touch with the silence within myself and I do believe that everything in life has a purpose.
One of most admirable quotes that has kept me on pedestal in whatever I plan and do is one by Eleanor Roosevelt (1884- 1962) thus: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”
– By Esther Anyango Oloo