“My mother bought an artificial hand for me, but it limited my progress; it made things cumbersome, so I felt I should be myself and get rid of it.” These are the words of Joyce Akosua Kudzeawu, a lady living with disability yet beautifying the homes of many people.
Born with one hand, Joyce has braved the odds to have a successful career while designing beautiful crocheted products to support herself and her family.
Twenty-three-year-old Joyce is a level 300 student of the University of Health Allied Science creating unique products such as pillow cases, floor poufs and bags with the use of a crocheting rope and pin.
Joyce makes these products with a single hand while supporting it with her thigh and the other amputated arm.
As she creates the products by using a crochet hook to interlock loops of yarn, thread, or strands, she narrates how she came about the great initiative.
Starting the business
Speaking to this reporter, Joyce said the idea started during the lockdown period.
“During the lockdown period, I kept thinking about what I can do to support myself and the family. It took me days but nothing came up. However, through a dream, I saw myself making bags and some other things and people kept praising me saying it is nice. So I thought of using the crocheting rope to design some unique and exceptional items to differentiate my works from others in the market”, she narrated.
Joyce wondered how it was going to be possible days after accepting the dream and acknowledging that she wanted to do the crocheting business.
The learning curve
“I didn’t know how to do it, but I was determined and wanted to do something different. I used three days to learn the steps and everything I needed on YouTube, and here I am today creating amazing products”, she told this reporter.
Products designed so far
Over the past three months, Joyce has created three unique products from the newly learnt craft.
She makes soft fluffy pillows, floor poufs and beautiful bags from the crocheting needlework.
“I enjoy doing them. With the bag, it takes me three days to complete one. I use two days to complete one floor pouf and a day to complete a maximum of two pillow cases”,
Joyce intends to make chair covers and other products with her new skill.
Challenges in the business
As determined as Joyce is, she speaks boldly of not having any major challenge in terms of discrimination or stigmatisation. However, she addresses the need to have more tools to satisfy the numerous customers who may be coming up soon.
“The only challenge I can point out now will be financial support to buy more materials”, she stressed.
Joyce announced her intentions of joining the Ghana Most Beautiful (GMB) pageant on TV3. She urged the public to support her dreams.
“I want Ghanaians to support me when I go to the reality house. GMB has been my dream. Please support me during my upcoming project and the crocheting business as well”, she stated.
Determination sets pace to achieve goals
Talking to people with disability, the 23-year-old urged them to desist from regarding themselves as inferior and begin to acknowledge that they have something of great value.
“Persons living with disability have something good in them so they should bring it out. Do not be shy or look down on yourself; just be determined,” she stressed.
She encouraged everyone to treat people with disabilities with lots of love and care.
Grateful Joyce lauds her mother and friends
Joyce was grateful to her mum and friends for the real love and support shown her over the past years.
She noted that drawing from the determining spirit of people living around her, she gradually gained courage.
Inspiration to many – Joyce’s friend
Cherita Kekeli Woamekpor, also a student at UHAS, noted that Joyce had been an inspiration to a lot of people, including her.
“Joyce has taught me to see life from a different perspective. She lives alone and doesn’t rely on anybody to do anything for her. So looking at her doing things by herself, I feel encouraged and inspired”, she stressed.
Cherita noted that Joyce’s skills had motivated her to give no excuse to anything that leads her to development.
She urged other people living with disability to explore and unearth their hidden potentials.
Cherita urged families and friends of persons living with disability to allow them to do things by themselves.
She added that being independent would help them discover themselves and further explore the hidden potentials they have in them.
Exemplary life to follow
Certainly, being disabled should not impede one’s dreams. Joyce has become the embodiment of courage, strength and determination for many in school, at home and church.