Ms. Abia Akram
Akram has become the first ever Pakistani woman with disability to be nominated as the Coordinator for Commonwealth Young Disabled People’s Forum and Global Coordinator at Global Network of Emerging Women Leader, Disabled People’s International.
Born with physical disability into a middle-class family in Islamabad, she began her education at a centre for persons with disabilities and is currently pursuing her Masters in Gender Policy at University of Warwick on the British Chevening scholarship.
She is a harbinger of hope for people, especially women with disabilities in the country. “In a society where women with disabilities are mostly considered a liability, my achievements have proven that they (the women) can leave their mark in any field,” she said. As the first woman with a disability from Pakistan to get the Chevening Scholarship, it has given me a real confidence to work in the field. Abia has been instrumental in leading the disability youth and women’s movement in Pakistan, and the Asia-Pacific region more widely.
She holds several leadership positions, including coordinator and founding member of the Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP), the Asia Pacific Women with Disabilities United (APWWDU), and chairs the UNICEF Global Partnership for Children with Disabilities (GPCwD) Youth Council. She has used her training and experiences abroad to strengthen advocacy initiatives towards promoting the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and has also served as a disability advisor on Community-based Rehabilitation (CBR) projects.
After the massive floods in Pakistan, Abia worked as Liaison and Capacity Building Advisor, supporting the mainstreaming of disability in the humanitarian responses of NGOs. As coordinator of the Ageing and Disability Task Force, she was instrumental in promoting disability inclusiveness in all the UN Humanitarian Emergency Responses in Pakistan.