Ex-Kenyan Paralympian Named Among UK’s 100 Most Influential People with Disabilities

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Anne Olympia Wafula, a Kenyan-born retired Paralympian added yet another feather to her garlanded cap by being named in the 100 most influential disabled people in the United Kingdom.

The announcement was made by the group Power 100 implies that Anne is someone her compatriots look up to for guidance and inspiration.

Anne Wafula MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) challenges misconceptions about disability. Athlete, author, disability and inclusion champion, and sporting ambassador.

Anne inspires achievement and excellence through motivational talks that encourage others to overcome difficulties and maximize their potential,” the citation from Power 100 reads.

Receiving the award, Anne said: “It’s humbling to be on the Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List 2020, in the politics and law category. There are so many disabled people doing extraordinary things, and I thank them all. We are stronger together.

I find it difficult to sit and see unfairness and exclusion go on. So, the small role I play in presenting disability issues in a way that could dispel negative stereotypes and promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities is crucial.”

“Equality is oppression to some people, but it’s liberation to us. When you go further up the pyramid, there is hardly disabled, black leaders in senior management positions. We must interrupt positively to change this,” she says, adding, “Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”

Wafula, born in 1969 in Western Kenya, was born as usual as any child would be.

However, disaster struck when she was almost three years old. She got infected with polio, an infection that left her half-paralyzed from her waist down.

This event did not dampen her resolve. Wafula proceeded with her education she was enrolled at Moi University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education. She later moved to the UK with her husband.

During Anne’s last visit to Kenya, she founded Olympia-Wafula Foundation. She hopes to use the foundation to support healthy living solutions for differently able (people living with disability) and those disadvantaged with emphasis on mobility, advocacy, and education to enrich and empower their lives through social inclusion.  

Her charitable work is spread across Malawi, Kenya, Swaziland, Haiti, the UK, and Nepal. She donated seven wheelchairs to a group of disabled people in Nairobi’s Kibera slums through her foundation.

Also, she supports numerous charities in the capacity of a champion, patron, and ambassador.

Anne said via her listing that inclusion isn’t tolerance instead is an unquestioned acceptance. 

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