Let’s meet Abdallah Nyangalio, a Tanzanian blind tailor that worked for Jakaya Kikwete’s during his days as the President.
Who says disability is a death sentence? Thanks to the likes of Abdallah, we now know for certain that no physical challenge should rob anyone of their dreams and a means of livelihood.
Abdallah lost his sight from high blood pressure complications in the 1980s.
He was treated by Russian doctors who concluded there was nothing else to be done to restore his sight. He was then counselled to accept his condition and was later taught how to sew.
Abdallah learnt the skill in 3 months and soon he was suiting up President Jakaya Kikwete and several members of parliament.
Many expected him to completely give up on himself but he didn’t. He went with his greatest skill acquisition- sewing.
So how does he take his measurements without seeing?
The talented tailor came up with his own style which he says is accurate and has never failed him.
According to him, he takes the measurement of customers by feeling the size of their palm; then he multiplying the size of the palm to know the appropriate measurement for a customer.
This Tanzanian tailor will not be the only blind talent Africa and the world has seen. These days we see visually impaired people who are incredible singers, producers, computer engineers and even athletes.
They might be physically impaired but not restricted from achieving their dreams and goals. While some other physically impaired persons would rather depend on the pity and help from others, Abdallah Nyangalio decided that he was not game for any kind of pity party.
As a matter of fact, he believes the best part of his life came when he lost his sight.
“Being visually impaired makes my life better than when I could see. When I was able to see, I didn’t see so many opportunities as I do now. I think better now and I don’t worry.”
“I don’t want my fellows just to sit in the streets, but to do like me. Because it is possible! I started this work because otherwise, I would catch diseases by sitting still, and I wanted to make myself independent. I wanted to be a role model.”
Abdallah Nyangalio recalls that he had to endure plenty needle pricks and mishaps before he mastered his way around tailoring.
In an interview with Abdallah he says that there was an incident where he mistakenly cut the wrong length of trousers. He had to turn the intended piece into a pair of shorts.
On another occasion, the tailor who stays in Mbagala, Dar es Salaam cut himself and was rushed to the hospital.
Before he lost his sight, the 56-year old man was a second hand clothes business dealer.