Fighting for the dignity of the disabled is no mean feat. As if the physical challenge is not enough, the disabled have to contend with social stigma and economic exclusion. For these reasons, people who emerge with a bold voice to advocate for the disabled must be celebrated and acknowledged. The following is a list of 10 heroes who are transforming the lives of the physically challenged all around the world.
1. Firoz Alizada - Advocating for the ban of landmines (Geneva)
After stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan at the age of 13, Firoz lost both his legs and life turned upside down for him. After facing discrimination at university, he founded an NGO that brings together landmine survivors for the much needed peer and social support. He is working to make sure that people make disability a priority for equality. This activist is based in Geneva but was born in Afghanistan.
2. Yetnebersh Nigussie - Bringing light to the world through e 49f6 ducation (Ethiopia)
After losing her sight at the tender age of five, Yenebersh had to grapple with all the challenges that came along. In a poor rural village in Ethiopia, she managed to overcome the odds and now fights for inclusive education for those who are disabled. Her wish is to have people regard those who are disabled as human beings who are capable of doing so much more. Her work continues to bring light to the world.
3. Zamir Dhale - Highlighting the plight of the deaf-blind (India)
Being deaf-blind in India is a huge challenge to say the least; when one does not have the right technology to facilitate communication. Zamir has been working to bring awareness of the plight that deaf-blind people face from day to day. Despite there being no official data on the number of people facing this condition in India, Zamir will not give up and he is a leading example of how overcoming all odds can touch others and transform lives.
4. Shilpi Kapoor - Looking to change the mindsets of people (India)
Shilpi is another Indian who is working to bring awareness into the issues of accessibility for the disabled. After realizing that her boss was paralyzed, she was amazed since they had know each other virtually. This turning point made her advocate for the rights of the disabled. With her big heart and a mandate to complete, this activist will not stop until society listens and does something.
5. Mosharraf Hossain - Fighting to create inclusiveness in the job market (UK)
Born in Bangladesh, Hossain could not find a job after he completed his education just because he was disabled. It is this frustration that birthed a passion to fight for inclusion in the job market. Now based in the UK, his organization has achieved major breakthrough in changing how people think about those who are challenged physically.
6. Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame - Advocating for human rights at the UN (Ghana)
Gertrude lost her sight progressively and this left her in a state of shock. The environment in Ghana for those who were challenged was so unfriendly and in this regard, she fought her way through and now; she fights for others. She believes that there is progress and people are slowly changing their minds and acknowledging the plight of the disabled. This activist will not give up despite the challenge of reminding people that disability is not inability.
7. Peter Ogik - A voice for people with albinism (Uganda)
As the first person to be born with albinism in his family and village, being different and coping was hard for Peter. However, he chose to study and through education proved to people that he could achieve just like others. He creates awareness around the issues of albinism helping those affected make the right choices from skin care to overall health. In addition, he is keen to show people that albinism is just a skin condition and along the way has made society better.
8. Silvia Quan - Working for equal rights (Guatemala)
Silvia is a lawyer and activist whose life experience with discrimination drove her to the human rights field. After losing her sight, she could not find a job in her country and this only made her life worse. It has been a hard road advocating for human rights since her country is poor. This has however not watered down her resolve to press on; because even changing one single person for the better is good enough.
9. Fred Ouko - Fighting against employer discrimination (Kenya)
Fred works to bring employers and the disabled together for opportunities. This is to kill the discrimination that has made many disabled people economically challenged. Through a portal that brings together qualified workers with challenges, and potential employers, he is making a difference in Kenya.
10. Bahati Satir Omar - Educating young people for a better future (Rwanda)
With dreams of being a medical doctor, Bahati suddenly lost his sight after high school and life was not the same again. Through thick and thin, he managed to create a forum to help others with disability and this is what he has been using to make the world a better place. Through education and creating opportunities for the disabled, he continues to touch many lives.
Image credit: theguardian.com