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August 9, 2004

Deaf Beauty Leaves a Millionaire

From:, Africa - Aug 9, 2004

The Monitor (Kampala)
August 9, 2004

By Henry H. Ssali

The clich disability is not inability could not have been proved more than what was displayed by the deaf Miss Uganda 2004/2005 first runner-up Ms Aidat Nabukalu.

19-year-old Nabukalu, who goes to Tororo School for the deaf, stole all the attention from the winner Ms Barbara Kimbugwe 19, and bagged Shs55.5 m from the audience to help in funding a new foundation for the disabled.

Several companies and businessmen pledged between Shs 500,000 and Shs5 m and Shs 55.5m was raised in only about 10 minutes. Nabukalu was also named a Goodwill Ambassador for the less privileged and to promote education for the girl child.

When Sylvia Owori announced that SDV Transami had donated Shs1 million towards the new foundation and that Roofing's boss Sikander Lalani had donated Shs2 m, Sudhir and Jyostna Ruparelia also threw in their Shs2m. All the rich men were touched by a spirit of benevolence and donated between Shs500, 000 and Shs5 m. Joystna Ruparelia and Dr Martin Aliker topped the list with Shs5 m each.

"The money is to help the disabled acquire education," a beaming Nabukalu said through her interpreter.

Nabukalu said she derives are inspiration from self-belief. "I believe I can do anything other people do," she said. Nabukalu's mother Ms Halima Zansanze said Nabukalu was born deaf, but she didn't give up on her.

"She was a very playful child and beautiful baby though we realised she was deaf and dumb, when she couldn't say the word mum," she recalls.

"She is a very bright girl and she has more friends than anyone can imagine," her mother said.

Copyright © 2004 The Monitor. All rights reserved.