Australia Awards Alumna, Hauwa Danmadami from Nigeria’s Bauchi State, is a prime example of how living with a disability does not need to stand in the way of ambition.
A recipient of an Australia Awards Scholarship to study a Masters of Finance and Business Economics at the University of Adelaide in 2013, she has since returned to work at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Abuja as an Economic Analyst.
Speaking on International Day of People with Disabilities, Hauwa said she wanted to reach out and encourage other people with a disability to show them that they can overcome challenges to succeed.
“I believe each individual is unique and has something to contribute to society. The challenges people with a disability face can shape their lives, but I am an example of someone who faced a challenge, who moved forward and made something of myself. I want to encourage others to feel the same,” she said.
Hauwa credits her family with helping her to develop “a thick skin”.
“I’m very lucky. I grew up in a family where my physical challenge was not an issue. I was treated the same as my siblings and encouraged to be independent. As far as my parents were concerned, I could become whatever I wanted to be, even though we live in a society where it is considered that people with a disability do not have to do anything.”
She also commended the Australian Government’s Australia Awards program for supporting people with disabilities and providing them with opportunity and support.
“While I was studying my Masters, I really appreciated the support the Australia Awards program put in place to ensure that I had access to relevant services during my time in Australia. They ensured I had tuition support and I received plenty of phone calls and emails to check on my welfare. The Disability Counsellor at the University helped in terms of the accessibility of lecture theatres and ensuring that I had accessible paths to use.”
Wednesday, 3 December marks International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPwD) – a United Nations- sanctioned day that aims to increase public awareness, understanding and inclusion of people with disabilities and to celebrate their achievements.
The Australian Government has been supporting IDPwD since 1996. For more information on how the government empowers people with disabilities through its aid program in Africa, including its Australia Awards program, click here