Afshan Afridi: An ispirational young activist empowering women with disabilities

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Chronicles of Resistance: A series to celebrate the achievements of women showing resistance to oppresive treatments and patriarchal systems that embody harmful traditions and deny women their right to a life of dignity

As narrated to Women’s Avenue

Every day, I go through a tiring time struggling with my visible and hidden disabilities, I carry the burden of stigma attached to a woman with disability. I was just three when polio virus affected my legs. I remember a day of my grade 7th, when our class teacher took us to picnic, my class mates were playing, chirping in the park while I was sitting in the school Bus looking at them with teary eyes. In the scorching summary days of Peshawar, It used to take 15 minutes on my support-sticks to reach my school when other kids would reach there in three minutes only. When getting admission in schools and colleges, others look for quality institutions but I was in struggle to look for the building where classes are taken on ground floor. I feared stairs. My struggle was different, my efforts were poles apart from rest of people. I suffered with depression and exclusion. And then, I changed my mind, I came up with thought that ‘‘ I am not disabled, the system is disabled that is not enabling us to do anything’’. Today, I am disability rights activist, engaged at many national and international platforms, this wheel chair has become my strength. I laid foundation of COLLECTIVE ALLIANCE FOR THE RIGHTS OF YOUNG GIRLS WITH DISABILITIES (CARY) – my long awaited dream!

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