They showed real grit

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Copy of Copy of ND School for disabled 4 (39083434) INLSA Ecstatic matriculant Sadia Khan and Anandh Appanna, the principal of AM Moolla Spes Nova School, in Phoenix, celebrate the news of her diploma pass in spite of her physical challenges. Photo: Zanele Zulu

Durban - Phoenix matriculant Sadia Khan is over the moon and grateful to her determined mother who she says never gave up on her ability to excel in her school work in spite of the fact that she is legally blind.

Khan, 21, is one of three matriculants of the AM Moolla Spes Nova School in Phoenix who wrote and passed 2013’s matric exam, opening doors for her further studies. The other two pupils were Promise Ngobese who achieved a bachelor’s pass and Pinky Ndlovu of Inanda.

Khan was diagnosed with septo-optic dysplasia as a young child, a rare condition affecting one in 10 000 births, which involves optic nerve hypoplasia, middle brain abnormalities and pituitary gland abnormalities. She takes six different tablets daily for the symptoms.

“Since I was five years old, the doctors said that I would never be able to be educated or to study but my mother said ‘no, she is going to study’. I really want to thank my family because even when I didn’t believe in myself, they believed in me,” Khan said.

Khan said she was “ecstatic” with her results. “I am happy and sad at the same time because I’ve done it. I’ve completed school and I will miss my friends and teachers who have all been so supportive.”

Khan’s mother, Zaida Abdool, said she was over the moon after a long uphill battle. She was also epileptic and had other conditions and when she had convulsions the doctors said that parts of her brain were dying and that it was not going to get any better, Abdool said.

“But it’s a miracle because I never gave up on God and that is the will that God gives man.”

Khan, who has read some 600 novels despite being blind in one eye, achieved a diploma pass and has been accepted at the Durban University of Technology where she will study human resources management.

Ngobese, who was paralysed in both legs after a fall in 2001, said she had hoped for a bursary to study at UKZN to become a special needs teacher because she did not have the finances to pay university fees.

“I am excited and thankful to God because it has been a long journey.”

Ndlovu could not be reached for comment last night.

AM Moolla Spes Nova principal, Anandh Appanna, said his staff had shown faith in the pupils and offered them encouragement and support. “This is a shining example for other learners in special schools to achieve their dreams,” Appanna said.

Education Department head, Dr Nkosinathi Sishi, said the trio’s achievements were “commendable”.

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