WAND Youth Amdassadors
I was born in Cape Town in 1994. I am 19 years old and have an older sister, Erin, who is 21. I was diagnosed as being cerebral palsied at 11 months and at the age of 6 was diagnosed as also having a degenerative neuropathy. In 2004 I founded The Chaeli Campaign with my sister and 3 friends in 2004 when I was 9.
I started my schooling at a special needs school at the age of 3 and was enrolled at a mainstream school when I was in Grade 3. I gained my Bachelors Matric Pass with a B aggregate at a mainstream high school where I wrote all my own notes and attended school without a facilitator. I have just completed my 1st year as a B Soc Sc student (Politics, Anthropology, Social Development, Gender Studies) at the University of Cape Town. I have made history by being the first student with a disability (who needs a personal assistant) to move into residence of UCT. I have been elected onto the House Committee (Graca Machel Hall) for 2014, heading the Outreach and Transformation portfolios.
My extramural activities include cycling and running (quite innovative being a wheelchair user!) and Ballroom and Latin American wheelchair dancing. Much of my advocacy happens through writing which includes having written a regular column for Rolling Inspiration Magazine, the newspaper ‘Thisability’ as well as my own blog.
Studying for my B Soc Sc (Politics, Anthropology, Social Development, Gender Studies) degree at the University of Cape Town
- In 2011 I was awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize for my work and life as an ability activist
- In April 2012 I was awarded the first ever medal for social activism by the Nobel Peace Laureates at their annual Peace Summit in Chicago
- In 2013 I was welcomed by Rotary International as a Paul Harris Fellow (and became a multiple Paul Harris Fellow) when I received The Paul Harris Award [Sapphire]
- In November 2013 I received the World of Children Youth Award in New York
I am eighteen years old and in matric this year and I am the Head Girl of our school. Growing up without parents and facing my physical challenge was a tough journey, but it has made me strong and turned me into the young lady I am today (see my story under latest role-models).
I want to encourage the disabled, especially women with disabilities not to allow circumstances, challenges, differences and their fears to overpower what they want in life or take away the spirit of a winner.
I am honoured to be a Youth Ambassador for WAND (Women’s Achievement Network for Disability) that will be launched in August 2014. I am a determined, strong and positive young women and I will be committed to look for opportunities where I can support WAND to the best of my ability. It is important that disabled women and girls have are empowered so that they can enjoy their human rights. I look forward to study Journalism at a Cape Town University next year.
- Western Province athlete
- Ambassador for my school
- Leader at our Youth Group
- TV presenter for a show that was broadcasted on SABC2 called T.M.S in 2011
- Received a certificate for a motivational course called “I am a Champion”
- In October 2014 I will represent my school at a wine auction in London.
I am 15 years old and was diagnosed with Congenital Myopathy at the age of 3 years. This is a disease that causes weakness throughout the skeletal muscle, meaning that my muscles cause me to become weak.
During 2011 I was also diagnosed with Scoliosis and as a result of this, I have been attending home schooling. I also do a course in web design and I attend computer classes. I love doing art, crochet work, needle work, mosaic and knitting.
I have recently become a Youth Ambassador for WAND (Women’s Achievement Network for Disability) for the Gauteng area. The aim of WAND is to raise the profile of disabled girls by raising awareness of the challenges and achievements of girls with disabilities.
I am looking forward to be part of the WAND network as I will be given an opportunity to learn many new things. I am especially looking forward to meet other young girls with mobility impairments so that we can form friendships and encourage one another.