Able to be Zahida Qureshi: An inclusion innovator in Pakistan
Growing up I had a dream – I always wanted to do something extraordinary. I’ve borne pain and faced drastic challenges, but I’ve never given up my struggle. And now my dreams have been realised.
I’m from Multan, a city in Punjab, Pakistan. As a baby I was paralysed by polio, which means I can’t stand or walk. My brother was born with a learning disability. Our mother fought hard to educate and care for us both.
People often look at disability as a disease, but I’ve never accepted this. Instead, I made myself strong on the inside. I mustered up my courage, confident that I shall educate myself, and my brother.
I mentally prepared us both to not lose hope. We are not a burden or a liability. Our disability should not be a source for others to create problems. With support from my family my and community, I focused on my studies.
Looking back, I think it inspired people to see me going to school in my uniform: ‘What a girl, despite her disability!’.
We are not a burden or a liability. Our disability should not be a [...]