I AM MORE than my disability

“Thank you that we can actually have this conversation; no one ever raises this conversation from a persons with disability perspective.”

Ingrid Bame is one of the women with disabilities who received Disability GBV Training conducted by the NCPD under the Enabled Women Arise Project. The purpose of the training was to empower women with disabilities with knowledge around GBV from a Disability perspective to enable them to educate other women and girls with disabilities.

“Is your disability imprisoning you? Are you limiting yourself to things that you can and cannot do because of the disability you have? “, said Bame commenting on how her encounter with the NCPD’s Enabled Women Arise project brought this realization to her. Bame expressed how she felt compelled to have an honest conversation about this with other persons with visual impairments. She highlighted how she experienced this change and continues to push these uncomfortable yet honest conversations during her sessions with her group.

Before her involvement with the NCPD Enabled Women Arise project which is supported by Gender Links under the WVL-SA programme, Bame was working and continues to work within the disability space. She is a stern advocate for persons with albinism, she runs an online platform spreading positivity about persons with albinism, cutting across issues ranging from the killings of persons with albinism and how mainstream media seldom spreads positive stories about persons with albinism. Bame’s platform is called ‘IAmMovement’ which emphasizes that I am more than my albinism. Bame is also the founder of ‘Personified’, a show on Impulse Radio which hosts conversations around disability. Bame is also a motivational speaker and a Radio enthusiast.

Bame further explained how the programme made her realise that there is a need to draw the line between self-imposed barriers and barriers imposed by society, “Do you realize that you are putting yourself in a situation where you can’t live a fully-fledged life like what the world considers to be ‘normal’ because of your disability?” Said Bame as she pointed out that she is still addressing this realization even in sessions with her group members.

Bame is conducting educational sessions on Gender-Based Violence from a disability perspective for women with albinism and women with other disabilities. She narrated how her involvement in this project has impacted even her social circles, “Thank you that we can actually have this conversation; no one ever raises this conversation from a persons with disability perspective” said Bame reiterating the remarks she continuously receives during sessions; further demonstrating how it has been eye-opening for people to see that it is possible to have such a conversation in South Africa amongst women with disabilities.

Bame expressed her excitement about a possible way to impact online communities, she hinted that she is planning to host the recordings of her sessions on a podcast. “We intend to take the recordings of the sessions that we have to see how we can package them in the form of content into a podcast and seeing how it is that we can reach broader audiences beyond the people that we have in the session, so hopefully that will have an impact on communities around the subject matter of GBV”

Commenting on the challenges that she has experienced so far on her journey with the NCPD Bame said, “Women with disabilities are few and far apart and being able to collect them into one space is quite challenging, and also the subject matter is also daunting it’s hard for one to easily want to sign up to take part, it takes a lot of convincing and one to one with people.”

Bame expressed her desire to venture more into this kind of work even after the project. She explained how with more support she would want to do it with a smaller group and run it as a series over a longer period to assess changes over time.