Abia Akram

Background:

Abia Akram was born in Pakistan and she grew up with her parents and siblings in Islamabad. She was born with a very serious condition known as rickets and it is a condition that results in soft bones in children. There could be complications in this condition as well due to this she had to use a wheelchair. The wheelchair became a part of her day-to-day life. Even though she was disabled, her parents didn’t give up on her and tried their best to educate her, to empower her. Her education began at an education center where everyone else was disabled. She also attended mainstream school and it was during this time that she realized that there is a lack of knowledge in teachers and importance should be given to systematic training of women and girls with disabilities who wanted to make a change and she didn’t make the decision to keep herself silent. In the year of 1997, she founded the National Forum of Women with Disabilities. She also got involved with Handicap International and got to know what is actually called the aging and disability task force. In the year 2010 during the floods, a very significant role was played by Abia and was appointed as coordinator for the aging and disability task force.

Social Impact:

Both education and parents contributed to her success. She has done research work in different countries like Japan and the UK which taught her a lot. Apart from this, she works in her organization for women with disabilities and their right to education, she is working on empowering women through training sessions, educational activities, conferences

Women with a disability should not underestimate themselves, they should take it as their strength and they should know their rights. Everyone is not perfect and need not be perfect as well. We must treat them well in society rather than distinguishing them. We should accept them in society. Many times in public, disabled people are being stared at, sometimes harassed, and embarrassed for being how they are. We can’t imagine what goes on in their mind. We should stop considering them as weak because of their disability. These people have even achieved more Heights in their life than people like us, able people who deserve equal rights and equal respect.

Accolades:

She is not only the first woman from Pakistan but also the first woman with disabilities to get appointed as the coordinator of the Commonwealth Young Disabled People’s Forum. She is even the chair of the Youth Council of UNICEF. From the University of Warwick, she received a Master of Arts in Gender and International Development. She also conducted research work in Japan.  Today, she is well known for being a Pakistani disability rights activist and even her name was present in the BBC’s 100 women in 2021. Both education and parents contributed to her success.

Written By-


Pranali Mahindrakar, Student of BSc. CS, Pune.

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