Nonyelum Nora Uzor: ‘An uplifting woman that always helped others to see the positive side of life’
2018-08-01 13:06:22 -
By Lexi Stroud

Nonyelum Nora Uzor died of breast cancer on Wednesday 13 June. She was 51 years old.

Uzor was committed to contributing to Irish society throughout her 16 years living in Ireland. As a social worker for Probation Services at the Department of Justice, her entire career and life were dedicated to helping others. 

Uzor was noted for treating everyone, no matter their background, as if they were family. Status was never a barrier to interaction with her; she was an advocate for all the people she worked with. She also detested injustice, and spent her life fighting against it in many different communities.

Before her career in probation, Uzor spent 10 years working and learning about people with special needs, prompted by her own experience of being a parent to a special needs child. She spent time working with rehab facilities assisting people with special needs towards independent living.

Uzor will be remembered as an advocate and supporter for families with special needs children. She counselled and advised parents whose children were diagnosed with autism, and became a beacon of hope to young families in uncertain times. She also worked tirelessly to change the stigma around special needs children.

Education was very important to Uzor, too. She graduated with a BA in English language from the University of Jos in Nigeria in 1991, where she was awarded best student. She later continued her education with a Master’s in rehabilitation and disability studies in 2010, and a Higher Diploma in social policy from University College Dublin in 2012. She received her final Master’s in social work from Trinity College Dublin in 2015.

Uzor was a pillar of her community as a member of the Christian Women Organisation (CWO) under the African Chaplaincy of the Archdiocese of Dublin. Fellow CWO members described her as passionate, humble and devout. She was always known to lend her support to the church, and she was influential in the organisation, always speaking up when something wasn’t right and offering new ways to look at situations.

Many speeches commemorating her life were delivered by the CWO at a special Mass held in her honour, officiated by the chaplain of the African chaplaincy and the Papal nuncio, among others.

“Nonyelum has challenged all of us. She lived a life that even left me wondering, how did she do it? Suffering and smiling, without allowing anyone to pity her. Some of us don’t even work or anything, but she worked until she entered the hospital,” said former CWO president Nwanneka Maryanne Okoye.

“So, she has challenged every woman in this house to get up and move on. Even when we are suffering, you don’t know what another person is suffering so mind your own and be kind and carry your cross gracefully.”

Uzor will be remembered as an uplifting woman that always helped others to see the positive side of life. She lived her life by example and will be recalled for being strong in her faith. 

She is survived by her husband Henry Uzor and their five children Chiadika, Elo, Ife, Obi and Udochukwa. Her burial will be in Nigeria on Thursday 2 August.
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