By Troy Mukupa
THE saying “Where there is a will, there is a way” is demonstration of Ian Banda’s story.
Many people have both hands and legs, but they are restricted in their capacity to dream because they think they can’t or that it’s impossible.
Despite having a physical impediment from birth, Banda has never allowed it to define him or prevent him from realising all of his potential. On the other hand, he is the founder as well as the director of Youth in Action for Disability Inclusion in Zambia (YADIZ).
You could think that this is a dream.In a society where prejudice against people with disabilities still exists, it is perhaps inconceivable for a young man with a physical impairment to yearn for the presidency, the highest position in the land.
Born on February 11, 1993, in Lusaka, Banda is devoted to advancing the rights of people with disabilities. He contends that concerns of inclusive development would continue to evade them unless people with disabilities occupied the top leadership positions in their own communities. He has a passion for public speaking, poetry, and comedy who hopes to become president when the time is perfect for him because he feels that individuals with disabilities are underrepresented in leadership, particularly in politics.
The 30-year-old activist, who uses a wheelchair for errands, has resolved to not let his physical limitation define and prohibit him from attaining his full potential and to take advantage of any opportunity to expand his potential as he already works towards achieving his goal. His passion in leadership first surfaced during his time as a Kabulonga Boys Secondary prefect, when he was also a committed member in the Youth Alive Club. As a result of that, he has acquired the necessary experience to the point where he can speak out against gender-based violence and support the rights of children and teenagers with disabilities. He participated in the University of Minnesota’s Public Management School after being chosen as a young African leader for the very prestigious and competitive Mandela Washington Fellowship programme in 2017.
The program was centered on public management and leadership across a variety of fields, such as policy, networking, and leadership, where he fervently defends the rights of kids and teenagers with disabilities. As a Mandela Washington Fellow, he had an opportunity with several American government figures who work in the area of disability and human rights advocacy. This fueled his desire to raise awareness of disability issues in the media, and he joined up with ZICTA to advance ICT for people with impairments. He graduated in civic leadership from the Young African Leaders initiative Southern Africa cohort 13 and joined over 140 other young people from all the SADC areas at the YALI Regional Centre at the University of South Africa under the School of Business Leadership.
Banda is pursuing his Diploma in insurance while studying insurance at the Zambia College of Pension and Insurance Trust under the scholarship programme offered by the Archie Hinchcliffe Disability Intervention (AHDI).