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Abdi Gas Leadership Testimonial

My selection for the Radar leadership programme has been very enriching. Literally like a light in a dark tunnel! It has helped me to find the tools I need to empower myself and accelerate my drive to attaining my true potential.

The Radar leadership programme consisted of four seminar/workshops. The first one was in January in Manchester, the second in Birmingham, the third was in Manchester but it had to be relocated to another venue, which was much more accessible outside Manchester. The fourth one will be in Birmingham this month.

At each venue a talk was given by inspirational people who reignited our desire to succeed at the highest level. We also had various workshops including “the building blocks of successful leaders” and individual coaching by a specially assigned mentor, who helped and advised me in my pursuit of leadership roles. The coaching was most valuable as I had someone constantly encouraging me to raise the self imposed barriers that had been placed on my efforts to achieve the goals that I had established for myself.

Having been selected for the programme, I was somewhat unsure as to how it might help me to achieve my leadership ambitions but I went in with an open mind and I got far more than I expected. Especially me (I am the holder of two degrees) at a time when I had lost hope and was constantly buffeted by the turbulence at the height of the recession. It was absolutely a step in the right direction. The programme gave me an opportunity to meet successful disabled people who themselves overcame barriers to reach their potential. Meeting them and networking with other programme participants actually made me unlock talents, which I thought I never had.

Being part of Radar leadership has led to many opportunities such as taking part in the appointments commission seminar and in the round table discussion on disability with the Minister of disabled people, Mr. Jonathan Show MP.

On the day itself we went to the speaker’s residence and listened to motivational speeches by Mr. Jonathan Shaw and a particularly inspirational delivery by Lord Alf Morris, who in 1970 was instrumental in the creation of the “Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act”. Lord Alf remains as passionate now as he did 40 years ago about disability issues and is a positive role model for myself and other young people who are enthusiastic about improving the lives of disabled people.

My input in the roundtable discussion emphasised the importance of getting more disabled people into employment. If more disabled people can get into work with equal opportunity, advancement, training, and promotion our society would view disability from a different perspective .

Only half of disabled people of working age are in work (50%), compared with 80% of non disabled people.[Office for National Statistics - Labour Force Survey, Jan - March 2009]

23% of disabled people have no qualifications compared to 9% of non disabled people.     [Office for National Statistics - Labour Force Survey, Jan - March 2009]

This problem needs to be tackled from the root up while students are still in the process of attaining a formal education. Institutions need to encourage more disabled people to learn.  Disabled people need to be given the opportunity to challenge the policy decisions that are being literally imposed upon them; they need to be involved and consulted.

I told the minister I personally feel that the key to progress is employment. I am of the opinion that this is the key because financial empowerment and associating with colleagues who become more used to working with disabled people will act as a catalyst to promote a better understanding of their condition and further enhance their education thus improving the opportunity to provide equality and support to them. All in all, I told the minister there needs to be a collective force in order to progress to social changes; this means more disabled people in society from the House of Commons to the local McDonald’s

I’m hoping to set up my own organisation within the next two years. My ambition has always been to effect some meaningful change the world, but I cannot achieve this by dreaming about it – the dream must be followed through with action and conviction and this is what I am hoping to achieve within the aforementioned time frame.

Radar empowerment Manager Mr. David Stocks has always been very supportive of my quest and through him I have been provided with a number of opportunities to achieve my dream by being sent to business coaching and being pointed in the right direction. I was involved in a presentation to seek funding for a leadership programme for young disabled people between the ages of thirteen (13) and nineteen (19) years, which was a joint project between Radar and CSV (Community Service Volunteers). I played an important part in securing funding amounting to seventy thousand pounds (£70,000). The experience of being involved in these negotiations was invaluable and in conjunction with this present programme has eventually stimulated me to get my dream back on track. My idea originally came to surface in 2007 while I was finishing my undergraduate degree. I have truly been empowered and now feel confident, content and special.