‘How I Overcame’

By: Daniella Jade Lowe

My educational experience as a disabled student has not been easy. Every step of the way has been a learning curve and a fight one way or the other with many hurdles to overcome. I graduated from Berkeley Institute, Bermuda in June 2009. After receiving a deferred offer from the University of Essex in England, I originally pursued further education at Bermuda College. However, I found that this was not possible as there was no wheelchair accessibility and they didn’t offer the degree of preference. As an alternative, I was referred to Snowdon Reid, a college recruiter from the Bradford College, through Bermuda College.

I enrolled at Bradford College to do my A levels. However, I only did that course from 2009-2010. On my own, I had to persuade faculty that I was willing to cope with living by myself and studying. Despite concerns, I maintained the mentality and focus that I needed to complete college in order to gain more UCAS points to get into university. I met with fierce opposition from English Tutor who gave me the impression that she was discriminating against me due to just being in a wheelchair. I sought help to deal with this but eventually dropped the subject.

I felt that the A levels were more stressful, intense and competitive than my degree. However, I still found ways to get things done. At one point, I got one to one tutoring online to help with my A Levels. I was allowed to stay. Snowdon Reid was a good advocate. I also had a Support Worker named Joan Pheasant from SHINE Charity who helped me apply for benefits and gave me personal advice for independent living. It was a difficult first year. There was lots of snow which made navigating hills tough. I used lots of taxi’s. I did all shopping by myself, paying bills, buying groceries and balancing funds. I started using an electric wheelchair for travelling to college and back. I also attended El-Shaddai Church, where I made lots of new friends and support. The main friend I met was Bruce. Another good advocate and friend that I met was Karl Oxford who also used to attend El Shaddai Church and was also a member of the Directorate of the Bradford College. I eventually repeated the first year after failing my final exams.

From 2011-2013, I had Personal medical issues to overcome, with ongoing visits to doctor office on campus. I ended up getting additional Health and Social Care which included a Social Worker, carers, and District Nurses to help cope with general heath while studying. During my Second year, I completed an Access course in Humanities and Social Sciences. It was a-2-year course. In the end, I graduated with a Diploma.

From 2013-2017, I completed an undergraduate degree in History and Politics. After registering with the Disability Office, I got a Study Coach and specialist equipment. I repeated the first year after not satisfying requirements to pass. During my Second year, things were ok. In my third year, I, along with the rest of my peers, received a Dissertation Supervisor in addition to my Study Coach to help satisfy requirements and the External Board of Examiners. On July 19th 2017, I graduated from university, with Second Honours. I’ve now moved to llkley to gain work experience. I am an aspiring journalist, politician and advocate for people with special needs. Despite the hurdles and challenges faced, overall, studying in England has been worthwhile and enjoyable.

My saga in looking for employment has been interesting so far. In addition to creating my own LinkedIn and Universal Jobmatch accounts, I’ve sent several applications and been turned down. I’ve been attending Jobcentre meetings. I’ve even visited Remploy in Leeds but they couldn’t help me. My Care Navigator and I visited Clarke Foley Centre where I’ve got voluntary work so far, every Wednesday from 9:30-12:30 as a receptionist. I’ll be answering the phone as well as helping with their bulletin, selling event tickets and social media.

8 thoughts on “‘How I Overcame’

  1. Hey DJ… great to see you branching out in this way. Really proud of all that you have achieved. You are an example to many because so many people would have given up by now but you keep pushing through and it is bound to pay off. I am really looking forward to seeing what will happen for you in your job situation. All these different doors that you have been trying one is bound to open!! When I look back at what you have achieved you are definitely an OVERCOMER! Aunt Bx

  2. Very inspiring DJ <3 Keep pushing through and breaking those walls down lovely. You’re leaving your mark all over. Love ya!

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About Daniella-Jade Lowe

Hello everyone! Welcome to my page. My name is Daniella Jade Lowe. I am a university graduate with a BA degree focused on History and Politics from the University of Bradford, England. Journalism and Politics are my passion. I have even represented Bermuda at the London 2012 Paralympic Games as a reporter for Bermuda’s Paralympian Jessica Lewis. During the games I also assessed the level of Wheelchair Accessibility at the event. I am an emerging Journalist, Politician and Disability Advocate. My motive behind doing this was to be an advocate for people with disabilities. I have a disability. It does not completely define me; it just enhances me in a way which differentiates and strengthens me. My disability should be viewed as an ability: to see the world in a different way. As a wheelchair user, I have advocated for Wheelchair Accessibility in Bermuda, by writing various articles for numerous publications on the subject. I also have a blog where I also write about various disability related issues. During Middle School and High School, I used a Garaventa StairTrac to navigate the school for classes. In fact, one of the reasons why I pursued further education and started my career in England was due to Wheelchair Accessibility. During College, I became the Disability Officer for the Students’ Union and I advocated for the students with disabilities. On July 27, 2007, I was invited by former Premier of Bermuda Dr. Ewart Brown for a ‘Brown Bag Lunch’ to discuss issues like Wheelchair Accessibility amongst other things. I have also been sporadically involved with WindReach since I was young. This is how I amplify my voice for Wheelchair Accessibility! I am also skilled in Politics, Microsoft Excel, Customer Service, Microsoft Word, and Strategic Planning. Strong media and communication professional with a BA focused in History and Politics from University of Bradford.