Songstress conquers disability
Though confined to a wheelchair, Sharon Ijaza, 22, is a singer who captivates her audience.
Her talent has seen her land invitations to weddings and other functions.
But it is not only in singing that she has proved her mettle. Ms Ijaza is also an IT specialist having graduated from the Institute of Advanced Technology with a diploma.
“I have always believed I am as good as any other person. The fact that I use the wheelchair is not a hindrance,” she told NairobiNews.
Last Saturday, she was among the participants of an event organised by the Kenya Paraplegics Organisation (KPO) to highlight challenges faced by people with disabilities occasioned largely by spinal injuries.
Ms Ijaza’s mother, Ann Indimuli says despite the spinal injury, her first-born daughter has overcome a myriad challenges.
“I am happy she is a college graduate and a much sought-after singer,” she says.
During the interview, Ms Ijaza was not afraid to show the reporter how to position her wheelchair for comfort.
The wheelchair must be under a shade to protect her skin from sunburn.
She has soft bone disease, a congenital sickness that makes muscles soft, exposing her body to many risks.
“People with spinal injuries face a lot of problems, some created by society,” she says.
She adds that she has suffered bullying, pain and cannot access many buildings.
“Able-bodied people who become paraplegics require rehabilitation to help them accept their new physical status,” she says.
In August, the government set aside Sh30 million to build the Kenya Paraplegic Organisation’s Injury Rehabilitation and Trauma Centre in Turkana.
Last year, KPO and Safaricom raised Sh73 million towards building a modern spinal injury centre in Nairobi.
In Africa, such centres are only available in Egypt and South Africa and so Kenyans must part with substantial amounts to get treatment.
KPO gives free wheelchairs to people with spine injuries.
Famous Nairobians who are paraplegics include Kamukunji and Westlands National Assembly members Yusuf Hassan and Timothy Wanyonyi, respectively.
NTV political reporter Richard Chacha is also a paraplegic following a road accident last year.