Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Beauty from Ashes

Sometimes we receive news that change the course our lives and from one day to the next we are no longer the same.  In 2006 when I learnt that my daughter would be born disabled I was shocked, hurt and scared.  I didn’t know what to expect - all I could hear were people saying that life would be difficult, perhaps I wouldn’t be able to cope, the child wouldn’t be able to function effectively; I should consider my options. Shari is now 8 years old and like everyone else she has her challenges, but she is a complete and utter joy. 
 This week we launched a crowdfunding campaign -http://igg.me/at/pocketlearner/x/9989598 - to present the Pocket Learner educational development system to the world.  The Pocket Learner arose from the ashes of my frustration with Shari’s lack of academic progress.  I did not accept that my little girl could not achieve more than was evident through her work at school.  At home we set about working with her systematically to build her vocabulary.  We began by using pictures and then we introduced written words. Before long the Pocket Learner began to take shape and now she has a wide vocabulary and is able to read several hundred words. The system has the potential to impact the lives of children across the globe.  It will give hope to the many parents and carers who feel or who have been told that their children can’t learn.
 Sometimes we are faced with situations which we think have come to destroy us.  We automatically regard them as setbacks when indeed they are setups.  They are there to strengthen us, to build our resilience and prepare us to impact. It’s only after those moments when we crash and burn that we can rise from the ashes.  Those are the moments that we learn the most from; the ones that give us experience that we can use to teach others and save them from unnecessary pain. 
 Had I not gone through that period when all my dreams seemed to turn to ashes I would not have produced this beauty which is the Pocket Learner.  Had Shari not been born disabled I wouldn’t have been inspired to develop this innovation that will empower many like her to aspire higher and achieve goals hitherto unimagined.  I set out to help her find herself; it turned out that it was she who helped me to find myself.  For many years I worked in industry, in diplomacy, in the public service – I have never considered the matter of disability.  Now this is my mission, my life’s purpose. “What’s not dead, don’t throw away” (Jamaican adage) – never give up on anyone; indeed don’t give up on yourself.  Too often we judge a book by its cover, refusing to take the time to delve beneath and find the purpose.  If we dig deeper we’ll find dearer treasures – beauty from within the ashes. The pressures of life often squeeze us but just like a tube that produces when it is put under pressure, we too are forced to produce when pressure is applied – it is not there to kill us but rather to build our character.
 We have launched this crowdfunding campaign - The Pocket Learner: Reading without Boundaries on the Indiegogo platform to enable us to further develop the Pocket Learner and make it available to others like Shari; and for this we are seeking support. Even if your life is not touched by disability the system is a wonderful gift for any child. Further information on the system and on the campaign can be found our website:  www.pocketlearner.net. Help us make that difference; help us impact the lives of those who need it most.

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