No one deserves to be an outcast. This leader opens doors for students with disabilities

 
 
 

Delicia De Vos is an expert at using self-confidence to navigate discrimination. Living with albinism showed her how difficult it can be if you don’t believe in yourself. “The way I looked made me feel like an outcast, like there was something wrong with me,” she says. Now an adult, with a life greater than anything she’d imagined, De Vos reflects on her journey with pride.

When her parents sent her to a school for the blind in Cape Town, De Vos was confronted by negative perceptions of albinism. Aware that the way people treated her was caused by ignorance, De Vos leaned towards the education sector as a career choice. She now works in the Disability Unit at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, where she has implemented a number of services to support students with learning challenges. These range from large computer screens for the visually impaired to an embosser that converts written documents into braille, and digital recorders for students struggling with hearing.

With her work, De Vos is able to help youth with disabilities gain confidence in themselves. Playing a role in the transformation of these learners from first year to graduation has boosted her sense of purpose. “It took a long time to find the strength in myself and be proud of who I am,” De Vos says. After taking back the power to define herself, she’s now giving a hand up to others with similar struggles.