Jane Theuri: How I beat disability and climbed ladder of success

Often, when people hear of disability or the word “disabled” they immediately think about people who cannot walk, talk, see or perform everything that people take for granted.

But they are almost always wrong.

The inspiring story of Jane Theuri (Lipsy) calls us out of our perception, impressing to us the fact that the ‘disabled’ are actually people who can do what the ‘abled’ can, but in a different way.

Theuri was born in Nairobi and bred in Limuru, Kiambu county. She is the last born in a family of two.

She was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone disease) which is a disease characterized by bones which fracture or break easily.

She recounts that she was born with an already fractured right leg.

Theuri started and continued with medication, which majorly included calcium supplements, undergoing physiotherapy sessions and corrective surgeries.

“This was meant to strengthen the bones and chase away the fragility,” she recalls.

Theuri started to beat the odds when she joined Joytown Primary School, a special school in Thika.

Joining a boarding school at the tender age of five, life required her to maintain a balance between getting better health-wise and concentrating on her studies.

She would get fractures almost every term but despite that and all other challenges she faced, she managed to be an average performer (though cognizant of her ability to do better).

Taking baby steps, one at a time, she joined Joytown Secondary School, still a special school in Thika.

She was on with her medication, determined to make a difference and let her star shine.

Done with primary and secondary education levels successfully and having qualified for university, Theuri would start climbing the ladder of success at a faster pace, without looking back.

She had a crystal clear vision of what she wanted to achieve.

“In 2010 I joined St. Paul’s University, main campus, to further my studies,” Theuri says.

This was a plus to her, since she would at least be closer to her home and family.

She pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations and graduated with honours in the year 2014.

Life could not afford to give her a lemon anymore, but her dice fell on blessed grounds.

“I took a break from academics and started off on my career,” she says.

Theuri joined the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, to serve as an Assistant County Commissioner.

She got admitted to the service in 2015, with her first posting being in Limuru sub-county, at the Deputy County Commissioner’s office.

She was slowly realizing her dreams, and not even the sky would be her limit.

Three years later, she got transferred to Embu Huduma Centre.

Jane’s desire to continue with her education by enrolling for a masters degree kept knocking on the doors of her mind, but she continually kept it on the waiting bay.

When the time was ripe, the need to advance career-wise required her to climb a stair higher in her academic stairway.

This could not be offered a blind eye anymore.

“In 2019, a friend whispered to me of an open Commonwealth Scholarship and I decided to try my luck. Who knows, probably I’ll end up getting this scholarship and I’ll do my masters for free!’,” she recalls.

Her dreams were valid. She got shortlisted and that’s how she ended up doing her Masters in African Studies in the University of Edinburg, Scotland, UK – all for free!

Back in Kenya, Theuri is the current Centre Manager for Huduma Centre Embu.

She still works with the Ministry of Interior and Coordination, as Assistant County Commissioner.

She is the only Centre Manager in all the 52 Huduma Centres across the country who has a disability.

But she says that she is proudly abled differently and that it doesn’t stop her from thriving in life.

She doubles as a part-time co-host for Abled Differently, a Kenya Broadcasting Corporation TV program which discusses matters related to disability, empowers the disabled and sets them ablaze with the passion to go beyond public perception of disability.

The program encourages them to conquer, soar high with the wings of success and determination.

The program is pre-recorded and airs every Sunday, 1.30 pm EAT on KBC Channel 1.

Her life is all inspiring and hope-eliciting.

“My doctor had told me that with proper medication, by the time I turn 18 years of age, I would be strong enough not to break my bones anymore,” she says.

She adds: “Since the moment I turned eighteen, I’ve never broken a bone, I’ve actually gotten stronger.”

She’s now thirty six, strongly soldiering on and pursuing life with the zeal it requires.

When moving to new places, Theuri is usually concerned about the kind of a house she will be staying in.

Whether it will comfortably accommodate her and her social needs and whether it is easily accessible.

For instance, whether the doorway has stairs or there is a ramp.

Though she says that she sometimes gets concerned by the many stares and glimpses she gets from people in public places, however, she personally understands their wonders and disbelief because not everyone has had a chance to closely interact with PWDs. “Therefore, it leaves them clueless on how to deal with us.”

She lives with an open mind to respond to any questions the ‘amazed’ may ask her.

Theuri believes that her disability is a gift by which she can do things really well and be needed by others.

She has been her own biggest fan, cheerleader and spring of undying motivation.

“To be honest, I am my own motivator as I deserve the best out of this life. So I need to cheer myself up and keep going, no matter how hard it feels sometimes,” Theuri says.

“My mom is also my pillar of strength. I want to accomplish so much for her because she never gave up on me and highly invested in my education.”

When not formally engaged, you will probably meet her doing some road trips to enjoy the nature, trying out different joints with friends, enjoying some swimming, reading a favourite book or even watching a movie.

She has found an amazing fulfillment in her job.

Six years down the lane, unlike many others she affirms that, “Working with the Ministry of Interior has just been one of my most amazing, fulfilling jobs ever.”

“I would not want to be anywhere else, because I know how it is.”

She loves serving the public and taking part in coordinating government projects.

Her workmates, whom she heads, describe her as “very independent, very much upto the task, sure of herself and just amazing!”

She looks forward to becoming the second Principal Secretary with disability, after Sports, Culture and Heritage’s Josephta Mukobe, who she personally relates with.

To all PWDs, she recommends determination, self-belief and a heightened self esteem as the sure vehicle to their destiny.

“It’s a matter of believing in yourself and working on your self esteem”, she affirms.

She tells them not to wallow in their self pity but like anyone else, go out there and grab the available opportunities.

“It is high time you learn to go out there, get every other opportunity and try as much as you can. Your day will come. There is someone who will look at you and will believe in you!” She adds.

To the society she says, “we all need to have the right attitude as human beings, whether you have a disability or you’re a regular person.

All we need is to be able to accommodate each other and make this world a better place for everyone, with the right attitude towards life and towards everything else.”

She says the world would be a comfortable place for everyone.

One can connect with Theuri on Instagram, Facebook and her Youtube channel, all @Janey Lipsy, for open conversations.

Stephen Hawking would not put it better when he said that, “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability does not prevent you doing well, and do not regret the things it interferes with.

Do not be disabled in spirit as well as physically.”

Editor’s Note:

This story is based on a video-recorded testimony of the subject as published by Jackie Lidibwi on her YouTube channel.

Previous articleHuduma Namba: the Illegal Card
Next articleHOPE: Malaria vaccine may eliminate killer disease
Mr. Makau holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics, Media & Communication from Moi University, Kenya. He is a Columnist and Editor with Scholar Media Africa, with a keen interest in Education, Health, Climate Change, and Literature.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The story of Jane Theuri speaks to all ears, urging us to happily do what we’re able to do and not bother much about what we are unable to do. She’s a woman full of spirit, determination and clear vision.
    I believe we’ll all find meaning in the story, relate well with it and appreciate our state of life, no matter what impedes our journey.

  2. Wow! Wow! Awesome piece 🔥🔥…really touching and inspiring
    Great insight therein… Having the right attitude, staying focused on what we are capable of doing and being self-motivated 👌🏾👌🏾

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.