Shaping Better Lives Through Advocacy
Meet Sana, a young woman who, against all odds, has become a beacon of change, not only in her own life but also in the lives of countless others.
In 2002, Sana was just a teenager and pursuing her first year of medical college when tragedy struck. A devastating car accident claimed the life of her sister and left Sana paralysed from the neck down. At that time, survival from such a catastrophic injury in Pakistan was truly a miracle.
The journey to recovery was marked by multiple surgeries and an internal struggle to accept her new reality. Back then, Pakistan offered limited support for individuals with disabilities and lacked accessibility, prompting her family to seek rehabilitation in the United Kingdom. Looking back, Sana acknowledges that, “As a teenager, I didn’t have the maturity to accept what had happened.”
It was in 2006, during her return to the UK for physiotherapy, that Sana’s perspective underwent a profound shift. It was here that she realised that her “wheelchair was not something to despise,” but rather, “it was my way of getting around. It was my ticket to freedom.”
Empowered by this realisation, Sana embarked on a journey to empower change. She successfully completed both an LLB and LLM through the University of London’s International Programme, setting the stage for her future endeavours.
With this knowledge and unwavering commitment to creating a more accessible Pakistan, Sana embarked on a career dedicated to advocacy. Four years later, her tireless efforts led to a breakthrough, as she played a pivotal role in introducing a legislation in her province to enhance accessibility for disabled individuals. In addition, Sana is an advocate for road safety and is the Road Safety Ambassador for Total PARCO Pakistan.
A Life-Changing Meeting
Sana’s journey took a significant shift when she discovered customisable wheelchair seating during her stay in the UK. Until then, she had no idea that wheelchairs could be customised to meet individual needs, with her previous wheelchairs being bought from eBay. It wasn’t until she went into a local mobility shop that she learnt about customisable wheelchair seating and where she was then referred to Spex.
Sana’s encounter with Ross (Spex’s UK product specialist) was remarkable. “The first day we tried the Spex seat it was just amazing how quickly my body responded to having better posture. I could actually draw in a breath properly, which I hadn’t been able to do for ages.”
“Spex has changed my life and I had no idea it could change,” she says. “I used to slouch because of my scoliosis–with my Spex seat, I don’t. I can’t wait to show other people how amazing this product is. I’m sure there are a lot of people like me that don’t even know that a seat can change your posture!”
Creating Real Change
Thanks to Sana’s dedication to advocacy, accessibility in Pakistan is finally changing for the better. A decade after her accident, people with disabilities are no longer silent. They are raising their voices and being heard. “We don’t want to be treated separately,” says Sana. “Creating facilities for differently abled people shouldn’t be a favour: it should just be done.”
Sana’s ultimate goal is to make that happen, turning this vision into a reality. Pakistan now has legislation in place, while it may not be 100% perfect, it’s an incredible starting point. She dreams of a Pakistan where individuals with disabilities enjoy the same rights and privileges as anyone else–not merely existing but truly living.
Sana’s unwavering commitment to reshaping the lives of those with disabilities in Pakistan is undeniably inspiring.