National Leadership Program, Fall 2020 – Spring 2021
Chinyere B. Azike was a Public Policy Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Fall 2020 through Spring 2021. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.
Azike, a Nigerian, began her journey advocating for persons with disabilities in 2014 following her experience with a very young boy who had Down syndrome. At such a formative age, this boy, who was supposed to be getting an education, was a mistreated apprentice in a cobbler’s shop. Chinyere leveraged this experience to research disability, including congenital disabilities like Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and Dyslexia.
Following this experience, Azike started an organization in Nigeria called Nechamah. Nechamah, similar to RespectAbility, fights stigma and creates opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in social, educational, cultural, and political aspects of their communities. Her work at Nechamah has shown her that numerous possibilities exist for people with disabilities if they are provided with a nurturing environment that helps them to thrive.
Azike is striving to become a disability inclusion expert, interacting and integrating with different economies, cultures and societies of the world, co-creating more inclusive societies and building a more equitable world especially for persons living with a disability. She is interested in working with leaders, especially across the African continent, to reform and implement disability policies. Joining RespectAbility will allow her to gain the requisite knowledge to advance this vision.
Chinyere has worked with several organizations as a resource partner and also as a volunteer in promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities. She has a first degree in Urban and Regional Planning and is currently a Master’s degree student in Organizational Leadership at Eastern University in Pennsylvania. She has been recognized by the African Women in Leadership Organization (AWLO) Nigeria as an emerging leader. She was also awarded the DearyEmpowerment Award by the Ed Harrison Ministry, and is currently an Urban Promise International Fellow, USA.
In her free time, Chinyere enjoys learning new information, exploring new places – hiking, baking, and spending time with family and close friends.
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RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.