My name is Aubrey Chiumia, i am 35 years old, i was born in a family of 3 of which i am second born, i was born and raised in Malawi.
I am an epilepsy warrior, i started experiencing seizures at the age of 8, then i was hospitalized at St Johns Mission hospital for two weeks with Malaria after i had my first seizure, by this time my family and i were staying in Mzuzu District in the Northern region of Malawi. All this was happening at a time i was in primary school and doing my standard 3.
At first i could not understand what was happening to me and so did my family, we thought i was bewitched, this was due to the lack of information about epilepsy. It took me several years before i fully understood what epilepsy is. Epilepsy has rob me of so much, it took years for me to be fully independent and in school i had trouble with my memory, in school i would study very hard and when a seizure struck i would completely loose memory of what i had studied. I was very good at English and Mathematics, i found these two subjects very easy as i understood them well and would do better even without much studying. I did my education up to the level of form four but unfortunately failed to write form four examinations due to the lack of support from my peers and my teachers. In school i faced stigma, discrimination, i was underrated, together with memory problems led to my poor academic performance.
Besides having epilepsy i have gone to marry, i run a successful shop in the capital city, Lilongwe, I love reading the bible and most of my conversations with people are largely fused with Biblical passages, this is very important for me as i find peace in the words of God.
My message to the world is that people with epilepsy have the capacity to make different achievements in life as long as they are able to enjoy all their rights. Trust us with work opportunities, let us enjoy our right to education just like any other human being and the respect we all deserve.
My message to parents and guardians is use every opportunity you have to learn more about epilepsy, how to administer proper seizure first aid, handle your children with epilepsy with understanding, do not be harsh and avoid presuming that our every mistake is deliberate.