Scholarship Recipient Dreams of Helping Others
Excerpted from Voices of Inspiration, UMUC Global Media Center
Growing up in Nigeria, Kudiratu Usman was a strong-willed young woman with a passion for learning that was nurtured by her parents. She was also deaf, and in a country where deaf people often do not start school until the age of 15, Kudiratu started school when she was eight.
The message she often heard was that deaf people can’t do anything. Deaf people, especially girls, end up living on the streets.
"If I had no education, I would be living on the streets, too, but my parents believed in education," Usman said in a keynote address at the University of Maryland University College’s Scholarship Appreciation Dinner at the UMUC Inn and Conference Center on May 30.
Usman received the Ray Ehrensberger Scholarship and expects to earn her MBA in May 2014.
"Educating myself as a disabled person has been very, very challenging," Usman admitted to the gathering of scholarship recipients, staff, faculty and donors to UMUC. But she has not allowed her disability to deter her.
Usman earned an undergraduate degree from Gallaudet University, the premier university for the deaf in the U.S. She enrolled at UMUC because it was convenient for her to take classes online and hold down a full-time job.
Her goal is to return to Nigeria and use the business skills she has learned to help women.
"I have observed so many deaf women living in the streets, [and] it broke my heart," Usman said. "It has inspired me to help women start businesses so they can be more self-sustaining."
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