Harry Chikasamba shares his story on how he came to be a member of the AbleChildAfrica Youth Council
I wake up one morning, quite refreshed and energized for the day ahead. I feel that the days of my life are on a race, running ahead of my contribution to humanity. This makes me feel inadequate; I feel there is need for me to do more. To commit more of my time, skills and resources towards humanity. This takes me to google. Children disability charity UK. I type those words. I want to find a charity that focuses on the rights of children with disabilities. The charity has to be based within a reasonable distance from the University of Leeds – where I am going to start my Open Society Foundations Disability Rights Fellowship program.
Booom! Hundreds of charities appear. My eyes go straight to AbleChildAfrica, a London-based charity impacting on a lot of Africa’s children. The child in me whispers into my spirit: This is your next place to volunteer, Harry. I can’t fight this voice; it has seen me through the best and the worst, alike.
18-25? Join our Youth Council! – AbleChildAfrica. The words that glue me onto the AbleChildAfrica website. The mission of AbleChildAfrica speaks to my soul, and I feel that the mission statement echoes my life mission. For the past nine years I have been volunteering with community-based disabled people’s organisations in Malawi. I have worked with young people. And I have played advisory role to individuals, youth clubs, and community-based organisations. This experience, coupled with my strong passion for disability rights and research in Africa, makes me relate with AbleChildAfrica.
From the website, I learn that the Youth Council will be coordinated by the AbleChildAfrica Youth Ambassador, Anthony Ford-Shubrook. I open another tab on my browser – I want to see who Anthony is. Anthony has a great story which is rooted in his zeal to fight for social change and transformation. Anthony’s story, especially his experiences as a disabled young man, speaks to my soul. I feel that his story, in one way, interweave with my story. This gives strength to the voice within me, and in a couple of minutes I find myself applying to serve in the AbleChildAfrica Youth Council. The rest is history.
On 12th November 2016, we had our first meeting as a Council at the AbleChildAfrica office in London. Six young people, all connected by a common inner drive to remove barriers that disable people in the world, share powerful ideas and progressive plans. The meeting enables me to meet Anthony, for the first time. Before me is a young man full of energy, immerse sense of humour, and a great motivation to bring change in the world.
Anthony is just a fraction of the many energetic young people the world has disabled with its attitudes, discrimination and inaccessible structures or services. In Anthony I see millions and millions of disabled young people – young people of profound energy, sense of humour, and commitment to participate in solving the world’s problems.
Today, young people make about half of the world’s population. The world has never been filled with more energy than today. The youth are a burning flame of fire that holds the heat so powerful to burn all the discrimination, attitudes and every barrier in this world. Being a young man myself, and sharing in the energy the youthful generation has, I rejoice in being a part of the change AbleChildAfrica is progressively doing in the lives of disabled people.
There is nothing for us without us. It’s time for young people to rise. This is the time for the AbleChildAfrica Youth Council.