Begging Deforms A Person –Edet | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Begging Deforms A Person –Edet

Posted: Aug 8, 2015 at 3:43 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Duyeobong Edet was not born physically deformed, it happened mysteriously. In this interview with Augustine Adah, he speaks about how he decided to make his case different by engaging in shoemaking and other things to escape begging.

How and when do you become a shoe maker?

I started shoe making about 28 years now I have been in bag making and training for 21 years.

Other people in your condition are on the road begging alms, why do you decide to make your case different from those in your in your condition?

I am a special person because I don’t like going out begging for alms, I am more interested in doing things for myself, I like creating things that are different, therefore I considered putting my hands on something worth doing and make me busy. I believe that if I am busy, I would not think of things that are less important or value.

Now I am happy doing the job because it keeps me busy. Any time I see people begging alms,  I am not comfortable because it demoralizes personality, it deforms a personality but if you work  to earn a living, it makes you like a normal human being.

When you are on the street begging people can talk to you any how or do anything they like to you. This is the kind of life that I love and always believe in.

How the idea to go into shoe, bag and bead making did came up?

Actually I have done something like frying of groundnuts and popcorns and selling them.

But I remember a day came and I told my mother that she should buy thread for me because I want to go in to shoe making and everybody then laughed me to scorn. They asked me; how can you go into something you don’t have knowledge of? But my mother who believes in me bought what I asked her to buy for me. Then I packed all the bad shoes that was abandoned in the house and repaired them though I did not do it as a professional shoe mender would have done but I discovered that the people started using the repaired shoes. That gave me encouragement that I can still repair for those who are not of my immediate family. I remembered that after doing the job for about one year or more, I collected a slippers from one of my pastor’s son and then created a design of same pattern though my own was a sandal instead of slippers and when I started using it a lot of people came to me requesting me to make similar one for them. That was how I started though it was not a single day journey; I did that for some years before I came to perfection.

From what you have said, does it means you did not attend any particular training before you started making these items?

Well, I cannot say I did not attend any training because the almighty God was the person that trained me, but to say I sat under any professional for training before I started doing the job, I say no.

But I can say that in Dusco-designers, we make up to 16 items including cover shoe, safety shoe, and different types of bag and we do it to international standard.  I do interior decoration as well and I did not learn any of them. It will interest you to know that I have rugged the house of former Managing Director of defunct Bank PHB, Francis Atuche in Delta State, many years ago and he liked what I did.  I do a lot of things that I was never trained for and these things are special, different from what others are doing.  I believe that when God trains you, things would be different. But in the past few years, I have attended some short training and workshops.

Are you comfortable with the income you get from the job?

Yes, this is what I do and from it I have been able to train my siblings and even in my family I shoulder a lot of responsibilities.

Though it has not been all that easy, I don’t think I have any reason to regret it because it has kept me busy and has taken my attention from lesser value. Moreover, it has afforded me the opportunity of training thousands of people and I am still training a lot of people and organisations.

Are you in constant touch with some of those you trained?

Yes, and many of them are doing very well, some of them are partnering with organizations to train people and they are comfortable.

But I must be very frank with you, it is very challenging especially in marketing the products, jumping from one vehicle to another looking at my condition, I tell you it is not easy.

What assistance do you think if you get them today it would enhance your performance?

Actually, I need a modern machine that would help us to do the job faster; I need a more spacious training because I have a lot of people that come for different kinds of training weekly and some monthly.

In addition, if I have the means of going from one place to the other in sourcing right materials for our works, it would of a great assistance to me. Right now, I have decided to organise free training in different skills for members of physically challenged in the society, but the challenge I have now is for good Samaritans who can help in bringing them to my office along Iju road, Agege Lagos.

Where do you want to be in the next few years?

I want my products to compete with other imported products in Nigeria and other African countries in the next few years. It also gives me joy if I can have maximum opportunity to empower a lot of people through training.

Were you born in this condition, or how does it happen?

It is not natural, according to what my parents told me, I worked for about six years, but one day I slept and woke up and could not walk again. That is how it happened.