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By M. Deen

Society sometimes views disability as a deterring factor in achieving the best life can give.  It takes self-acceptance, hard work, striving through each day, and someone as courageous as Hannah Sesay, who was born with a handicap, to beat societal perception.

About Hannah Sesay  

Hannah is a 29-year-old Sierra Leonean who was born handicapped.  The most painful part for Hannah was that she never enjoyed the warmth and love of a family.

Sometimes, so many questions come to mind. Maybe you were not the child the family envisioned, or maybe you were not wanted since the inception of the pregnancy. Thinking about some of these questions is emotionally draining!

A few days after her birth, Hannah was taken to an orphanage operated by a Swedish organization named ‘Pa Lokko Orphanage Home.’ After all the legal adoption procedures were completed, Hannah became one of the legal occupants.

When she reached the age to start schooling, Hannah attended the United Methodist Church Pa Lokko Primary School, which was owned by the same orphanage home. She later attended the Harford School for Girls at Circular Road, where she attained her junior secondary school education before the school relocated to the provinces. She was also admitted to the Saint Joseph Secondary School for Girls, where she did her Senior Secondary School education.

Hannah has done so well for herself that she is presently at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, striving to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood.


Being a person with a handicap definitely comes with its challenges.

Hannah explained that she has gone through a lot. There were times when she had to question her existence. Sometimes, her self-esteem and confidence gave way to low self-worth and not believing in herself.  There were times when the famous question came to mind: what if I was not born handicapped?

When growing up, she lived in isolation, segregation, charity, and pity. She had to depend on friends and family at the orphanage home to help her through the daily activities. She was always seen as incapable of achieving greater things in life.  Sometimes, people see disability as a personal tragedy or as a punishment for wrongdoing.

During her school days, Hannah dreaded the rise of the sun. Her peers would always make fun of her due to the way she walked. She couldn’t play or mingle with them. Since childhood, she has wanted to fit in. The bullying still continues at the University, where only the stares of people can shrink you. She has to deal with the pressure of waking up early to attend lectures, which she is always late for because she cannot walk properly. Using crutches to walk and struggling with access to a reliable means of transportation definitely slows her down.

“I don’t mind people looking at me anymore. I have gone through so many hurdles that have made me who I am today,” stated Hannah Sesay.

Hannah decided that her disability would not deter her from doing what she loves. Even though she lives with a disability and life has been hard for her, she loves taking care of young people and children.

She became a teacher at the Pa Lokko Primary School, which was owned by the orphanage home where she was raised. Because of her hard work and seriousness, news went around that Hannah was the head teacher of the school. She was always there to ensure the school was running smoothly and solve problems when they occurred. Her disability did not deter her quest for the best. She became the center of attention,  loved by parents and their children.

However, Hannah wanted to explore and empower herself. She knew there were greater things for her to achieve. She was done limiting herself. Due to her love of children, she quit working as a teacher to pursue a career in early childhood by getting a degree.

Hannah became consistent and determined as ever to push forward. She became what people did not envision her to be. She’s so independent and has proven that no matter the situation, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.


‘’Put God first in whatever you do!! Don’t let your disability prevent you from pursuing your dreams. You can be whatever you want to be. You can become better, just like the Sierra Leoneans, without disability. Let’s change societal perceptions together!’ —Hannah Sesay briefs.

Photo Credit: Moseray Koroma( Super Mos Photography): +23278145373/ +23288914840

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