Fellow Since 2001
Friends of the Disabled
This profile was prepared when Aku Christy Christy Orduh was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
Christy recognizes that current efforts to integrate people with disabilities into society are often severely hampered by societal prejudice and unrelenting poverty. Unless these fundamental problems are tackled, current rehabilitation and reintegration programs will not be successful. Addressing these challenges, Christy focuses on three primary areas. First, she attempts to lessen societal prejudice through the development of enabling and non-discriminatory environments in which people with and without disabilities can interact. Second, she creates programs that respond to the physical, educational, and economic needs of disabled people. And finally, she works to enact legislation to protect the rights of people with disabilities. As a focal point of her public awareness campaigns and advocacy work, Christy has developed the first Nigerian learning center, a place where able-bodied and disabled people are trained alongside each other and where the disabled are sometimes the instructors for able-bodied students. As she provides them with the means to become economically self-sufficient, she simultaneously breaks down the societal stereotype of the disabled as burdens to society. Christy is spreading her model through an expanding basic education curriculum and vocational training program at the center and through the creation of similar centers in neighboring areas.