Charity ambassador Anne Wafula-Strike MBE wrote a Letter to the global press on International Women’s Day calling for women in developing nations living with disabilities not to be forgotten on Sunday 8 March 2015.
Remember the women less fortunate this International Women’s Day
As you are probably already aware, Sunday 8 March 2015 is International Women’s Day and across the globe people will be remembering the achievements of our sisters before us who have allowed us to live in a world that continues to be more equal, safe and rewarding. However, as a woman who grew up in Kenya with a disability as the result of Polio I am all too aware that there is still more to be done.
Anne receives her MBE at her investiture ceremony for her services to Sport and Charity
Being a woman in the male dominated societies of many developing nations is often hard enough, but those who live with a disability as well are often subject to a double dose of discrimination in countries that offer a distinct lack of equality. They say to be successful one must have a dream but the truth of the matter is most women with disabilities in developing nations are dying and taking their dreams with them to the graves. This has to stop.
Growing up in Kenya, I was the subject of discrimination from superstitious villagers who believed my disability was the work of a curse placed on my family – as if growing up in East Africa with a disability was not hard enough! Despite this, I used my ambition and determination to achieve my dreams in becoming the first wheelchair racer from East Africa to appear at a Paralympic games.
As a British Polio Fellowship ambassador and through my work with various other charities I now want to get the message out there that women coming from a similar background, with similar challenges, can still achieve their dreams. Together, this International Women’s Day we must remember the women less fortunate than ourselves across the globe and help them make it happen.
Anne Wafula-Strike MBE
Ambassador, British Polio Fellowship