19-year-old Gabriel Mapata from Zvimba is a teenager battling for a voice to speak out his desires to society after he was born with visual and hearing impairments.

While most of his agemates are in tertiary institutions, Gabriel spends most of his time in isolation.

He cannot speak, hear or see and one can only imagine the emotional struggle he always goes through.

Gabriel is an orphan in the  care of his aunt and uncle after his parents died in 2008.

“Gabriel, since childhood has been living in this condition. The biggest challenge we have is communication since he is blind, deaf and unable to speak. We don’t know what he wants, feels or needs and this makes it difficult to assist him,” said Mrs Pauline Mapata, Gabriel’s aunt.

“If Gabriel can acquire assistance in the form of hearing aids, braille assistance and other life skills perhaps his life would change for the better. We are appealing for any form of assistance that could help Gabriel live normally in his condition. If he could also be trained in some life skills, maybe this will make a difference,” Mrs Mapata added.

Gabriel is one of the many cases of disabled persons whose disability limits their potential.

However, his condition should not be a barrier for him to reach beyond his eyes, ears or fingertips.

Those with a willing heart will surely make a difference to Gabriel’s life.