Success at Sunderland Business School speaks volumes for Nellie
Released: Tuesday 31st July 2012 at 11:13
Nellie Ayiro, a profoundly deaf single mother of four and grandmother of two has successfully battled problems to complete her newly awarded BA (Hons) Business and HR Management degree from the University of Sunderland’s Business School. She is now looking forward to training as a Business Studies teacher for special educational needs pupils in secondary schools.
Nellie believes that without the support of lecturers and staff at the Business School and her British Sign Language signer and scribe she would never have achieved her ambition of graduating and following her chosen career.
Nellie’s sudden and complete hearing loss a few years ago meant she had to quickly adapt to a dramatically changed future, as she had previously worked at a call centre. Not having a qualification meant that finding another job was very difficult, and she took the major step to commit to a three year degree at Sunderland because she had heard they had a good support system for disabled students – “which is true,” she said.
Nellie said: “The support from my lecturers, particularly Paul-Alan Armstrong, was great, and they made sure the lectures and workshops catered efficiently for my disability. The university’s disabled support advisor, Aline Bellion, was really helpful too, and helped set up my signer and scribes, as I had no sound at all when I began the degree.
“My scriber, Lesley El Alami, played a big role in my time at university as did my signers, especially Leanne Routledge who was with me throughout my final year. There were many problems – but now I call them challenges! It was sometimes hard not to show how much these challenges affected me, but with help from many people I’m now delighted that I’ve completed my degree.”
When Nellie became deaf she began to research countless articles about her disability. She came across an article about a woman in the same situation who advised that instead of wallowing in self-pity you should follow your dreams. That was when Nellie made the decision to study for a degree, first enrolling at Newcastle College to complete a higher education foundation course before beginning her degree studies with Sunderland Business School.
Sunderland Business School senior lecturer Paul-Alan Armstrong said: “Nellie is a remarkable student who has achieved a huge amount despite daunting odds. We were pleased to welcome her and her signer and scribe to the Business and HR Management degree lectures and workshops. We hope her success will encourage more people to grasp the opportunity of higher education, whatever obstacles they may feel stand in their way.”
Nellie, who lives in Newcastle with her children and grandchildren, added: “Studying for my degree was a big journey for me, and I would like to thank my lecturers for believing in me and having patience with me when communication was difficult, and for the amount of ’one to one’ time they gave me. I would also like to thank Lesley and J B Skillcare for signer and scribes, who were always there when I needed them. Last and not least, huge thanks to my children for being strong while I studied for my degree.”