Sport

Leading by example: Inspiring life of a wheelchair speedster

Leading by example: Inspiring life of a wheelchair speedster
  • In 2018, she was awarded a Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Health Sciences) by York St John University.
  • This year, Wafula has been recognised by the iNews as one of the 100 leading black women in the world and she cites Wangari Maathai as one of her inspirations.

Anne Olympia Wafula is a woman on a mission -- she sees her task of reaching out to the disabled as a very urgent one that needs immediate solutions.

"When we talk about desperate situations imagine a scenario where city government askaris descend on a disabled hawker not only destroying her wares but damaging her wheelchair in the process.“Unfortunately this is the situation many find themselves in.” she says.

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

However, disaster struck when she was two and a half when she got infected with polio, an infection which left her half paralysed from the waist down.

This never damped her spirit and Wafula went to scale education heights ending up in Moi University where she took Bachelor of Education degree. On graduation, she was posted to Machakos Technical Institute, now Machakos University College.

She later moved to Great Britain with her Briton husband. She settled in Harlow, just outside London and she has been feted here as a model citizen.

Her son, Tim Walindi Strike is a formidable footballer who is attracting the attention of junior sides of major European clubs.

In 2004, Wafula became the first wheelchair racer from sub-Sahara Africa to compete in wheelchair Racing at the Paralympics.

She uses her life meaningfully, with a purpose to inspire people facing challenges to tap into the latent power that lies within them.

Wafula is a Disability Rights campaigner and she has lobbied organisations and government to ensure access and inclusion is on the agenda.

She founded Olympia-Wafula Foundation with a strong vision to promote healthy living solutions for differently able (people living with disability) and those disadvantaged with special emphasis on education, mobility and advocacy to empower and enrich their lives through social inclusion.

The work is spread in Kenya, Malawi, Swaziland, Nepal, Haiti and the UK.

Donated wheelchairs

It is through this that Wafula on Saturday donated seven wheelchairs to a group of disabled people living in Nairobi’s Kibera slums.

She also supports various charities in the capacity of ambassador, champion and patron.

She is the author of the award-winning autobiography "In My Dreams I Dance", which was published by Harper Collins and the book is set for an update due to public demand for the incredible story.

In 2014, Wafula was awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by the Queen of England.

In 2018, she was awarded a Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Health Sciences) by York St John University.

This year, Wafula has been recognised by the iNews as one of the 100 leading black women in the world and she cites Wangari Maathai as one of her inspirations.