Komabu Grateful-Miranda Sefakor Pomeyie.
She has a lot of names.
But I called her Sekafor as we chatted over Facebook and I sipped an afternoon beer. The Internet speed in her area of Ghana was too slow to Skype.
Each of her names means something to her–she speaks of them as if they are more gift than necessity. “Sefakor was given to me by Mum–[it] means God had comforted me, or somebody who cheers me up when I see her,” she says. The Miranda came from her grandmother, Komabu is her last name, and Pomeyie is her husband’s name. Grateful was the one given to her by her Dad when she was born.
After polio left her disabled at age 8, leaving her unable to walk, her dad called her something else.
“[It] pains me a lot how my dad neglected me and said I am a nuisance to the family,” she says. Her father, Sekafor says, thought she was “a cursed object, and because of me he ran away from my Mum.”
He wasn’t the only one to look at her as something cursed. In Ghana, she says, “most disabled people are considered second class human beings despite the disability laws.”
She remembers being a kid at school, shunned and forced to sit at the back of the class. Worse, nothing was set up for a disabled child. “I had a container in my bag in which I used to pee. The urinal was very inaccessible. That was one of my plights.”
These plights led her to be a vehement advocate of the rights of disabled people to an education in Ghana. It’s why she started Enlightening and Empowering People with Disabilities, an organization designed to create awareness and influence change in providing disabled people in Africa–including the 2.5 million in Ghana–with both the respect and the education they deserve.
Her efforts have garnered her some attention, including spots on TV about her organization. The passion is built in–years of unnecessary obstacles and ridicule have ignited it in her–but she also has another guiding force: her religion. She was raised Christian, and has since become born-again. During our chat, she mentions God several times. “Seek the face of God in all your endeavor and He will lead you through,” she says. “He is my everything.”
As for her father, he has come around a little thanks to the attention she’s receiving from the local press about her mission. “Now, I am his joy when he sees me on the television screens,” she says. I ask if she forgives him.
“Oh yes, I am a Christian and need to do that, so that I am also forgiven,” she says.
She still visits him on occasion, she says, and she’s thankful for her own children–twins, a boy and a girl, 5 years old.
“I am blessed beyond measures,” she says.