Disability no stumbling block for inspiring dog bed, blanket entrepreneur
11 January 2023
By Nonhlanhla Ndlovu
Pretoria – Driven by passion and believing in hard work, Norman Chirumiko has not made epilepsy his misery.
He makes a living by making and selling beds and picnic blankets for dogs.
Born and raised in Cosmo City, he started his business in 2015 after losing his part-time job. Chirumiko said he knew he had to make a plan and not let his disability stand in his way.
He said his mother had always been his greatest inspiration: she taught him to never give up.
He said as someone with a disability, it was difficult to get a job, especially if you did not have a qualification.
He then saw the need to start his own legacy using his creative mind and his hands. He started sewing dog beds and picnic blankets for a living.
“My mom has always been a hustler, I’ve always looked up to her. She was an entrepreneur, so I got inspired by the idea of making my own art and being self-employed.”
He added that being an entrepreneur was better than waiting for a monthly salary because he was able to make more money with his work than when he was an employee.
However, each journey has its challenges, and Chirumiko has encountered many, from a young age.
He said that from primary school until secondary school, he was “undermined at every last level”. He also faced a lot of depression growing up.
“We have been fighting for some time for things to be simple for disabled people, but with no luck. It’s a journey to be accepted into society as a black disabled child, because of how we don’t educate the young ones about disability, and I would like to encourage people to share these things and educate people,” said Chirumiko.
He said after the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown his business started dropping in sales as many people lost their jobs and could no longer support him. However, he keeps pushing everyday, hoping for better sales this year and growing his business.
“I would like to tell people that in life, never back down, no matter the challenges you face. Hold your head above the water, and always stay true to yourself,” said Chirumuko.
Source: Pretoria News