5 min­utes with CHINWE IROMUANYA

THISDAY Style - - LIFESTYLE -

she is the founder of The en­abled life or­ga­ni­za­tion, an nGo borne out of the pas­sion to trans­form the lives of peo­ple liv­ing with chal­lenges, es­pe­cially but not ex­clu­sively to peo­ple with cere­bral palsy. she said no one un­der­stands the per­son liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties like an­other per­son who has gone through the same ex­pe­ri­ences. she be­lieves that the time has come for dis­abil­ity ad­vo­cacy to be put in the hands of peo­ple who un­der­stand dis­abil­ity and its pe­cu­liar chal­lenges. her or­ga­ni­za­tion is fully run by in­di­vid­u­als liv­ing with dif­fer­ent types of chal­lenges but are ac­com­plished in their dif­fer­ent en­deav­ors. her vi­sion is to change the way nige­ria views peo­ple liv­ing with chal­lenges. she wants to in­tro­duce the “new face of dis­abil­ity.” she hopes that through her work , those dis­crim­i­na­tion against them will be en­light­ened. Born Chinwe Prom­ise anyae­hie to the fam­ily of late Chief J. R. anyae­hie, Chichi has risen against all odds to be the first per­son liv­ing with cere­bral palsy to grad­u­ate from nige­rian law school, la­gos in 1989. she de­sires noth­ing more than to see peo­ple get past their lim­i­ta­tions and thrive. Chichi be­lieves that ev­ery­one should be em­pow­ered to do their best. she is also an au­thor, mo­ti­va­tional speaker, min­is­ter and health coach. liv­ing with cere­bral palsy. has not stopped her in any way but has spurred her to be the best. she is hap­pily mar­ried to her law school heart­throb Br. Tony iromuanya and they have four won­der­ful boys. she is an epit­ome of strength and char­ac­ter to all around her, hav­ing a great de­sire to carry as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble along with her. she re­cently founded The en­abled life to help her bet­ter serve the dis­abled com­mu­nity The nGo will be launched on the 17th of July 2017. she speaks ex­cit­edly about it. “it will be an en­abling plat­form for peo­ple with chal­lenges. a sup­port struc­ture not just med­i­cally or fi­nan­cially but a way to boost their self con­fi­dence. it all starts in the mind and hav­ing the right mind set is the great­est as­set one could have. it will be a ral­ly­ing point where we draw from each other’s strength”. The launch will show­case var­i­ous tal­ents in­clud­ing The Je­sus Peo­ple en­abled Band, also there will be a fash­ion show and a host of other in­ter­est­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. To as­sist with med­i­cal bills and other life build­ing ven­ture, fundrais­ing will also be a part of the event. Chi chi uses her cap­ti­vat­ing sto­ries to en­cour­age oth­ers on Face­book. you can find her un­der the name Chi Chi iro or on her web­site. www.theen­abledlife.org

what in­spired you to set up this ngo?

i was born with phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties my­self. i was born with cere­bral palsy in nige­ria at a time that peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties stood no chances. i had no role mod­els grow­ing up. i per­son­ally had to over­come great odds to get to the life of my dreams. my pas­sion has been to be that role model for those com­ing be­hind me. how have you been able to deal with the chal­lenges of dis­abil­ity?

By be­liev­ing in god and my­self. the love of my hus­band and four chil­dren. the love of my fam­ily and friends. Of course i was raised by a mother that was de­ter­mined to make me the best i could be. what is the most frus­trat­ing per­cep­tion you get from able bod­ied peo­ple? the stares. i hate when peo­ple stare at me be­cause i am not or­di­nar­ily aware of my dis­abil­i­ties. apart from the phys­i­cal chal­lenges, how best will you ad­vice those in the same sit­u­a­tion to de­velop a men­tal healthy ap­proach to life and it’s chal­lenges?

like i said be­liev­ing in the word of god that says you are fear­fully and won­der­fully made and be­liev­ing in your self. you are the only per­son that can de­fine you. no one was cre­ated and per­fect. Do you do any form of ex­er­cise to strengthen your bones or any par­tic­u­lar diet you fol­low to be fit­ter and stronger?

i have been blessed with great genes but as i get older i dis­cover that you need more than great genes to pre­serve your body. i am also a cer­ti­fied health coach so i know the ad­van­tage of bal­anc­ing the body, soul and spirit. i try to avoid sugar and car­bo­hy­drate. i eat a high pro­tein diet. i al­ways keep ac­tive, i do a lot of house­work, be­ing a wife and mother of four sons. i walk, lift weights, get on the el­lip­ti­cal and do re­sis­tance ex­er­cises. i find that keep­ing ac­tive makes me stronger. who has been your pil­lar of strength through try­ing times?

my won­der­ful hus­band. i have other great sup­port. my four sons and my sib­lings. i have great fam­ily sup­port. i also have great friends. what part­ing shot do you have for those in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances to give them the in­spi­ra­tion and con­fi­dence to be­lieve they can achieve their de­sired goals?

there is noth­ing you want to do that you can­not ac­com­plish. you are the only one that can stop your­self. it may not be easy but be fo­cused and you will suc­ceed. do not let the dis­crim­i­na­tion around you stop you. no one is per­fect. we are dif­fer­ently en­abled. lastly, who or what in­spired you enough to be­lieve in your­self and your abil­ity to achieve what you have till date?

god, my late mother lady Beatrice umeadi anyae­hie, she let me know at an early age that ex­cuses were not ac­cept­able, my day dreams (i cre­ated the life i have now in my dreams and be­lieved it was pos­si­ble). i also mas­tered the art of cel­e­brat­ing my as­sets while min­i­miz­ing my abil­i­ties. Of course the ic­ing on the cake was my hus­band of 24 years and my best friend, Bar­ris­ter tony iromuanya. he is such an in­cred­i­ble hus­band. i would not have been the woman i am to­day with­out him.

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