In Summary
  • In January 1985, she was diagnosed with a kidney problem and in November of the same year, she underwent surgery.
  • “My whole urinary system was changed. To date, I wear a urine bag.”
  • Do you have feedback on this story? E-mail: [email protected]

Nafisa Khanbhai knows rejection all too well. She has endured it for the last 41 years.

But that did not break her, instead she has risen to raise awareness about disability among members of her society.

Ms Khanbhai was born with Spina bifida, a birth defect that occurs when a baby's backbone (spine) does not form normally as a result, the spinal cord and the nerves that branch out of it may be damaged.

“I was born at a private hospital in Mombasa. Technology and medicine was not advanced so my parents went through a lot researching about my condition. Doctors advised my parents that I should undergo surgery.  I used to wear callipers. My family and siblings stood by me throughout my journey.”

Due to inadequate schools for persons living with disabilities she was enrolled at Jaffrey Academy.

She said she used to wear nappies while going to school until she was nine years old.

MOTHER CAME AT BREAKTIME TO CHANGE NAPPIES

“There were only two schools for the disabled in the 1980s. My mother used to come at break time to change my nappies. I had few friends due to my condition. I was isolated and couldn’t participate in outdoor activities.”

In January 1985, she was diagnosed with a kidney problem and in November of the same year, she underwent surgery.

“My whole urinary system was changed. To date, I wear a urine bag.”

She said she has received more hostility from members of her society whom she accused of isolating, sidelining, neglecting and shunning persons living with disabilities.

She has urged the society to change their mindset and embrace people living with disabilities by giving them moral support.

“October is national Spina bifida awareness month.  Challenges we go through as persons living with this condition are numerous. Since Spina bifida leads to disabilities the challenging part is to overcome the disability, to come out and stand out from a society that neglects and avoids people with disabilities is miraculous.”

She said every human being was created in the image of God hence no one should look down upon another person due to their deformities.

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