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Edward Ndopu

Edward Ndopu, 27, was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two and was given until the age of five to live. Not only did he defy his prognosis, but he has also gone on to become a global human rights and disability justice advocate.

Ndopu, or Eddie, as his friends call him, co-founded the Evolve Initiative, a global start-up that seeks to influence public policy and popular culture by repositioning disability as a site of social transformation and innovation. At the African Leadership Academy, he also founded the Global Strategy for Inclusive Education, a student-led campaign aimed at facilitating the educational rights of children with disabilities living in emerging market economies.

He has done work for Amnesty International and the World Economic Forum and was a Program Associate for the Clinton Global Initiative’s Global Minimum InLabs project. He has been named one of the 50 Most Influential Disabled People in the World by the Shaw Trust, as well as one of the World’s 30 Top Thinkers Under 30 by Pacific Standard Magazine.

Ndopu recently became the first-ever African with a degenerative disability to graduate from Oxford University, where he obtained a Masters degree in Public Policy and served as Student Body President at the Blavatnik School of Government. He has now embarked on a major campaign to become the first physically disabled person to launch into space at the end of the year in honour of Nelson Mandela’s legacy, and as part of the centennial celebrations.

Connect with him on LinkedIn here.

Nominated in category: Leadership

Photo: Supplied