Employment October 20, 2020
Wheelchair entrepreneur Fouziya refuses to confine into her home due to a disability
Fouziya, a Kerala based wheelchair user, is an entrepreneur and is also active in social work. Her new shop that opened a few months back is doing well. Fouziya wants to become an independent person and show the way to all disabled people who refuse to dream big due to a disability.
Fouziya, 33 years old, hails from a small town in Malappuram district of Kerala. Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, Fouziya has beaten many challenges to live an independent and empowered life. She was always active in social work. Since the past four months, Fouziya has her hands full because she started her own business venture. She is loving her new role as an entrepreneur, but is also dedicating her time to help other people with disabilities in all possible ways.
Childhood and a disability
Fouziya’s family comprises of her parents and nine siblings. Two of her brothers were also diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. When she was eight years old, Fouziya started showing symptoms. She couldn’t walk and started falling too often. Fouziya started using a wheelchair only since the past three years.
“A disability was not new in our family. So when I was diagnosed, none of us were shocked. But my parents were upset”, recollects Fouziya who completed her studies till class 12. Though she wanted to pursue higher studies, lack of accessible colleges nearby her home which is in a rural area was a hindrance to her dreams.
“I was diagnosed while studying in school. So first few months, my family thought it would improve. They did not know the condition was incurable. I even changed schools so that I could complete my schooling”, says Fouziya.
An independent and proud entrepreneur
Someone who did not like to stay inside the four walls of her home, Fouziya always found reasons to step out. She became an active part of many local NGO’s, especially those that worked towards welfare of disabled people. She started her own YouTube channel to keep herself occupied. “I’am part of Palliative care units. The best part is that I could make many new friends. Just because I’am on a wheelchair, I refuse to confine myself to the house”, she says.
The lockdown had affected her town which witnessed a rising number of Covid cases. People were scared to step outdoors. Many of them, especially women, couldn’t even go out shopping to buy products of their choice. That is when Fouziya decided to start something for them near her home. She sells exclusive women’s and kids clothing and products. Since the shop is located right outside her home, Fouziya doesn’t have to travel.
After getting her own customized scooter, she could become more independent. Fouziya is also the Secretary of All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation at Eranad.
“I have been getting good response for my venture. Many are glad that a shop has started close to their homes. I have support from parents and siblings too”, she says.
Fouziya hopes to expand her venture in days to come. “Why would people think that you cannot achieve anything due to a disability? You might have limitations, but I believe in doing what I can within my limitations”, she says.
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