While Kenyan parents ponder the benefits and pains of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC), a young Fashion Stylist is calling for compassion toward learners in Kenyan schools.
Kenyan-born London stylist Dollyquinter Mungai explains what it's like to be dyslexic
#PulseYouthMtaani with Fashion Stylist Dollyquinter Mungai
Dollyquinter Mungai, a London-based Kenyan Fashion Stylist spoke with Pulse Live on her stint as a student in Kenya only that she has a Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD).
Dolly, as she prefers to be called, is raising awareness on a DCD specifically known as Dyslexia. A condition which made learning difficult while she was in school and one that requires her to take more time with tasks in her daily life.
"Dyslexia is almost like having two people living in your head or having two brains, in that, you may think one thing but when it comes to bringing it out, you do something different. For example, you could know that this side is left and you need to turn left but you go right. Your brain works very differently and it's not wrong or right. Sisi wote tuko tofauti and we should learn to accept these differences," Dolly explains.
She is immediately keen to caution that Dyslexia is NOT a debilitating condition and points out that she has built a successful career in an industry she loves despite being dyslexic.
"It's not as if I wake up grunting, 'Oh I have Dyslexia, I can't do this or that', no! It affects coordination, for example, knowing that I have to be at a specific place at a specific time. Or answering an email may take me much longer than a person who can respond right there and then. So, I wouldn't say that Dyslexia affects my life to a large degree, it just takes me longer to do some things," she points out.
Dolly explains that Dyslexia affects people in different ways. She further outlines that Dyslexia presents in a spectrum, meaning that those who are affected may experience mild to severe challenges.
Experience in Kenyan Schools for Learners with Dyslexia
Research has found that most people with Dyslexia are diagnosed later in life, some even as adults, a challenge that has made many young learners suffer ridicule and some are labelled as "problematic".
Dolly notes that had it not been for her mother's keenness with her behaviour in school and at home, then her diagnosis would have taken much longer.
"When I studied in Kenya, at a boarding school for three years, I felt like I had zero support from my teachers and peers, I was left to sort of figure out things on my own but I attribute that to lack of awareness. Because of my strong personality and the fact that I'd already accepted my condition while in England then I was able to pull through," she says.
Assistive Devices for a person living with Dyslexia
Dolly points out that there are three devices that have made her life much easier: Siri, Alexa and an App called Audio Book.
"With Siri on my phone it is much easier to send out any text message because I can simply dictate and Siri turns my speech to text. I also absolutely love audio books, big thanks to whoever came up with the concept! I can read up to 50 or 60 books in a year on Audio Book and I also couldn't imagine my life without Alexa," Dolly tells Pulse Live before demonstrating how she uses the devices.
Dolly, the Career Woman
Dolly takes great pride in the work she does, she has travelled to over 52 countries in the world where she has offered her services as a Fashion Stylist.
She attributes the success of her brand to a reliable team, her love for fashion and the self-awareness that has come from learning more about how to manage her life.
"Having Dyslexia is not the beginning nor the end... I have some people on my team who I value and they have gone to university even though I didn't and we've done great things together. There are some things I can do because of my own abilities and passion that they cannot. I love fashion and I've been able to make a living out of it," she says.
Find some of Dolly's styled looks on her Instagram, @what_did_dolly_wear_
Dolly tells Pulse Live that she is keen to return to Kenya to do more work in helping educationists cater to the needs of learners with Dyslexia.
"I'd really like to come back to Kenya and promote awareness on Dyslexia, especially in the education system, because I know that there's a girl or a boy somewhere who feels like they are not clever or smart because they cannot do what their peers can do.
"I also feel like it's my duty to restore some sort of balance back home because many young people and even adults with the condition are turning to alcohol and many are getting depressed because they feel incapable and when you feel incapable it's almost like you have no choice," Dolly outlines.
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