Disruptive Leadership: Taking on the Status Quo for Children with Disabilities in Afghanistan

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Raising a child with disabilities has taught me one thing – to set aside established beliefs about what may not be possible for these children, and instead take risks to challenge entrenched and institutionalized perceptions about what IS possible.    I have found, however, that operating in this way has a tendency to create waves; not my intention of course, as my motivation continues to be finding the best solution for my daughter, and now for disabled children in Afghanistan through my work as Executive Director of PATHS and our current project, Operation Exceptional Child (OpEx Child).

I have been called a ‘rebel’ and accused of being crazy by some and stupid or worse by others (even a bad mother!), while still others tell me that my work is futile – that in fact the problem is so large and intractable that my efforts will certainly be wasted.  I believe, as I always have, that this kind of thinking is wrong-headed, ill-informed and limited in its scope.  I know this because I have learned first-hand that with the right resources the impossible can become possible for children with special needs.

They say that disruptive leadership is a necessary influence to create change in any institution or organization that suffers from stagnation and entrenched interests to uphold the status quo.   Disruptive leaders are required in this kind of an environment to reframe problems and opportunities; individuals who are willing to take great risks in order to accomplish seemingly unreachable goals and offer new perspectives.  To go against the flow as they say, in an effort to present another vision and perhaps a better way of doing things.

Yes, I seek to revolutionize a system full of entrenched interests that look to uphold the status quo of complacency in how children with disabilities are valued and further, how resources are delivered to these special children in developing countries.  I fully understand that change is slow and difficult, but it is not impossible.  The first step to creating change is in raising greater awareness of the problem and that is precisely what OpEx Child: The Documentary seeks to do.   Please help make it happen for a mom on a mission and children with special needs in developing countries: http://igg.me/at/OpExChild/x/2782967 …

About the author


I have spent the past 25 years advocating on behalf of my disabled daughter to help her realize greater independence and a better quality of life; it has been a life-lesson for me and the most difficult thing I have ever done. Raising a child with disabilities is challenging enough…

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