Inspiring Story: Endurance Otobi The Blind Shoemaker

This is an inspiring story of how blind Endurance Otobi defied the odds and made a career for himself as a shoemaker.

Otobi wasn't born blind. As a young school boy, he noticed he couldn't see clearly. He complained to his parents several times but his poor parents couldn't really do much. They thought it was nothing serious and that he was just seeking attention.

By the time young Otobi got to High School, his sight had deteriorated badly.

Endurance Otobi The Blind Shoemaker

In an interview with Pulse. ng, Otobi narrated an encounter he experienced as a child: “Something happened in my former compound. They said, one woman used ring to slap me on my right eye. So since that time, the other eyes now got blind. When I went for a checkup, the doctor said it’s Glaucoma."

With the comfort of supposed fetish missives now disposed of, Endurance’s parents considered the possibility of a surgery to treat the condition but for a family that could barely make ends meet, they couldn't get help for their son. The only option they settled for was prayers and fasting.

By 2002, Otobi was completely blind in both eyes. For 7 years (2002 to 2009) he remained idle and helpless - it was the worst days on his life. Depending on others to carry out the normal activities of daily living, some empathized with him while many taunted him saying he had no future.

Endurance Otobi The Blind Shoemaker

In a country (Nigeria) where physical challenges are treated like life-changing limitations, this is a man whose condition was treatable, but his parents' poor finances resigned to his plight.

As things got worse, one day, his mother asked him to go out and beg for alms.

Some how with the help of friends and sympathizers, said “Finally, I found myself in School of Blind, Oshodi. I never really know that God really have plans for me there.

“They taught me how to weave only bags.

He spent 2 years in the school. He loved the very thing he taught and even started teaching others who wear interested in weaving.

In 2016, Otobi was invited by Equipment Life Foundation where he developed a special interest in making shoes.

“I sat down there, thinking. What can I really do?”, Endurance remembers.

“Look at people that have eyes. This is what they can do. I said I want to shock the world”

“I want to make something like shoes”, he decided.

He picked up his shoe and after speaking with some of the staff, he got to weaving.

In order to combine he craft of weaving with shoes, Mr Kazeem Alieu Abiola - a cobbler - decided to work with him and this marked a turning point in the challenging life of Otobo.

Today, Endurance Otobo's has a career and business is booming. He refused to allow his disability destroy his future. He knew he deserved better than standing on the streets - at the mercy of passersby - begging for alms. He lives with a room mate who assists him around the house and a sister who cooks for him.

“I’d advise the young people out there, despite what they’re going through in life, their background has nothing to do with their life," he said.

He added that "They should just have the right thinking. When you think right, you can be at the top.”

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