W e are honored to have Farida Bedwei’s story as our first feature for Earn Your Crown Column. Farida Bedwei is an Award Winning Entrepreneur, Writer and Disability Rights Advocate born on April 6, 1979, in Lagos. When she was 1, she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy – a neurological condition which affects the motor development of the affected one. This was caused by jaundice, which wasn’t treated early enough, due to other complications. She was home schooled by her mother until she turned 12, when she entered mainstream school at the Junior High School level. After JHS, she went on to do a diploma in IT before entering the workforce.
Her first job was at Omari Computek Systems. From there, she moved on to SOFT, a software development company, because she decided to specialize in programming. At SOFT, she worked on various projects, including Human Resource and Payroll Systems . She then moved on to Rancard Solutions where she worked for some time. She is currently a co-founder and Chief Technology officer of Logiciel Limited.
Farida describes her mum as a Superwoman who trained her to be an Independent woman. It was her to aim to ensure that Farida becomes as independent as possible so that she can fend for herself when she was away. Which should be the goal of every parent of a child with disability. She is an inspiration to the world with her zeal to breakthrough against all odds. Interestingly Miss Farida Bedwei is very modest about her achievements. She gets quite embarrassed when people walk up to her to express how proud they are of her journey. As far as she’s concerned, she hasn’t accomplished much and sees herself as an individual living her life to the fullest.
This is the first time I’m sharing an experience I went through last year, 28th July. Farida ; ”I had a ‘Slipped disk”, a condition which occurs when the soft inner portion of your disk protrudes through the outer ring of your spine. Imagine the pain of experiencing a disk slip (the disk is what cushions your bones) out of place while moving or involved in any activity. As someone with cerebral palsy, I had never experienced any complications beyond the initial diagnosis unlike others who have frequent seizures and other complications I have never gone through such a situation before, I woke up on morning of 28th July 2016 at 5:30 am with a searing pain in the back of my neck as a result, I could not walk and I collapsed and could not get back up. After 30 minutes of calling for help, my mum finally heard me and helped me up from the floor. That is when I realized from my waist down were numb. We went to the hospital and I had to undergo an ACDF surgery. Afterwards, I had to do intensive physiotherapy and pushed myself harder than I have ever done because, I did not want to be paralyzed for the rest of my life and have to be fully dependent on someone. Through it all, I was convinced that God did not bring me this far to leave me in this position. I cannot even tell where I got all that strength and energy from to pursue this agenda. In my mind , all I wanted was to come out of that experience looking and feeling better.
Recovering from paralysis isn’t easy. It took a whole lot more than just physiotherapy to get me back to my regular life in 6 months. I could have just allowed this experience to take charge of my life and become dependent on caregivers for the rest of my life. I decided to stay focused on my life’s goals. I thank God always for making all this possible.
I have also come to believe that most people know exactly what to do to achieve their goals, but because of the many disappointments and lack of perseverance, they never take the chance. Remember that no goal achieved comes easy. I couldn’t have gone through all this by myself. I am grateful to God my family and friends especially my mum and sister for helping me through this difficult time. I must say, during my recovery period I sometimes used to feel a bit sorry for myself, but mum will always remind me not to. She will say to me “I should rather be feeling sorry for myself because I am taking care of you all by myself, but I am not feeling sorry... so why should You?” We don’t need just family, it takes you and I to put smiles on the faces of others. Stigmatization by the society can just kill your dreams, if you are not strong willed.
Contrary to what others may think, people with Cerebral Palsy can and do live normal lives; get married and have children. The facilities here in Ghana are not friendly to persons with disabilities. It is my prayer that we all get to support worthy initiatives to provide what is needed.
I am living my life without limitations and making the best of my abilities…YOU SHOULD TOO!!! Earn Your Crown out of the decisions you make today, make it count.
Miss Farida Bedwei was awarded Special Award by Ex-president John Mahama in 2012, Winner of the Maiden Award 2011 for Legacy and Legacy Ideas Award and is 2013 CEO, Most Influential Women in Business and Government Award. She also won the CIMG Special award in 2014.These are few of the many awards she has won.
She has written a book entitled ‘Definition of a miracle’, She developed Zigloi, a real time integrated web/cloud based micro-banking platform which enables microfinance companies and other financial institutions as well as credit unions in the informal sector manage their client’s information and back office operations while providing a critical source of aggregate financial data on the informal sector and is used by over 300 financial institutions in Ghana. She is currently working on a project ‘Demystifying Disabilities; which seeks to educate and create awareness on disability issues and also to prevent discrimination against people with disability. Check Farida’s social media pages to watch the clips and support the cause.