I‘m Alem Mumuni from Ghana. I developed polio when I was two years old; at this time, outbreaks were common. My right leg became disfigured and I crawled until the age of 10, when I began to walk using a stick. I was marginalised, stigmatized, and discriminated against because of my disability.
My parents were peasant farmers in Saligu in northern Ghana. I knew that the only way for me to succeed in life would be to get an education, so I persuaded my family to let me attend primary school, whilst I worked on the farm to fund my education. I later discovered a passion for sport. This would help me to beat my disability and inspire change.
I moved to the capital, Accra, where I played for the national amputee football team while I also worked. I broke my leg and was no longer able to compete, but I met a sports scientist who helped me realise my talent for cycling.
Since then, I‘ve competed in numerous world championships, and at the London 2012 and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. I‘ve traveled across the world and used my voice to advocate for positive change through the media, and have delivered speeches at schools, sporting events, and others.
I set up the Alem Foundation, which supports children with and without disabilities to get an education and access healthcare. I raise funds through the foundation to pay for school uniforms, books, and fees, and provide communities with water filters to prevent diseases like polio. The foundation has also funded surgery for children with disabilities. At times, our family has gone without food to be able to take care of the children we‘ve sponsored.
Since I was young, I‘ve felt the need to prove myself and raise awareness of people with disabilities to change the perception that they are ’social parasites,‘ ’beggars,‘ or ’cursed.‘ My dream is to see all children, especially those with disabilities, given equal opportunities to education and all other areas of life.
Thank you for reading my story. Together, we can get rid of preventable diseases for good, and help ensure equal opportunities for people with disabilities.
Watch the video below to learn more about Alem Mumuni’s story and more.
Every experience we have shapes who we are in one way or another. Meet Alem Mumuni and Dr. Irene Olumese, and learn how they are using their own life experiences to ensure equal opportunities for people with disabilities. #IDPD2022 pic.twitter.com/f8UzSgkrz1
— ONE in Africa (@ONEinAfrica) December 3, 2022