When I started in adult education at Ability@Work they understood my goals and dreams and they really supported me all the way through. They didn’t laugh at my dream to be an artist; they took me seriously. I did an Art course in Newbury House and took part in Art Link and now I am doing a CE (Community Employment) Scheme as a Visual Artist. I am working at what I love.
I started getting interested in painting famous Cork buildings and people are really loving them. I have painted the Opera House, Shandon Bells, and Fitzgerald’s Park, the Crawford Art Gallery as well as loads of other places. I even painted Áras an Uachtaráin and I had the confidence to send this painting to the President of Ireland. He sent me a lovely letter back thanking me for doing it and he said he would put the painting up in his house.
Now people give me orders of paintings to do. I get paid for it and I have my own Instagram page with all my paintings. I also make miniature things and characters out of clay. I have way more confidence in myself. It just seems like finally things are going towards what I had always planned.
I don’t want people to be making decisions about my life. I want to be making my own decisions. I just want a normal life like everybody else. I want to be independent, have my own dream house. I want to be in a relationship with a nice girl and get married someday. I have big dreams about having my own art studio in the future.
I think people with different abilities should go back to adult education because they need to believe that they can have a normal life with a job and their own independence. Other people out there are very talented but they just don’t realise it. You will find a course that you love and it will be interesting for you. Just make sure it’s what you want to do and not what other people want you to do.
I think the government need to listen more, they need to understand more, need to listen to people’s dreams. You know I think it would be great if somebody high up in the government really knew what it was like to have a disability or maybe if they even had a family member with a disability. Just so they would know what we are about. I’m a human being and I want to have the same rights as other human beings.
This story is Part of the Learners as Leaders activity within AONTAS’ current project ‘Adult and Community Education: Supported Learner Pathways 2020-2021’ as part of the European Agenda for Adult Learning.