E062: Breaking Social and Physical barriers and meeting Oprah and the President of the United States with Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
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“I wanted to do something to honor my mom and to honor God, and to let people in the world know that if you have a disability, that’s not the end of their life.” – Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah is an athlete and activist from Koforidua, Ghana. Yeboah was born in with a severely deformed right leg. In 2001, he rode the 400 miles across Ghana to bring attention to the plight of the disabled in that country. In the process, he applied for a grant of a bicycle from the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF).
After completing the cross-country trek in Ghana, the CAF invited him to participate in the 2002 Triathlon Challenge in San Diego, CA. During the course of Yeboah’s visit, doctors from Loma Linda University Medical Center informed him that he was an excellent candidate for a prosthetic leg. Following a successful surgery, Yeboah entered the CAF triathlon, reducing his time by 3 hours. Yeboah was subsequently awarded the CAF Most Inspirational Athlete of the Year Award and Nike’s Casey Martin award.
Yeboah received approximately $50,000 from those awards. Upon returning to Ghana, he used the money to open the Emmanuel Education Fund for promising students with disabilities. In 2005, Yeboah’s story was captured in Emmanuel’s Gift, narrated by Oprah Winfrey.
Emmanuel was the first person with a disability invited into the palace of the Akyem Abuakwa Kingdom and met by King Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panyin II. The continue to work together. To date, Ghana has the most progressive legislation for inclusion, but lacks resources to innovate and develop the facilities and programs.
He is currently working on building schools for children in Ghana, with or without disabilities. Usually, disabled kids in Ghana have to pay for their education, even at public schools. In today’s show, Jacob talks to the inspiring Emmanuel about the value of people and why it’s possible for everyone to help someone.
“This world is about people. It’s people helping people to make people great.” – Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
There are times in our lives when we meet truly amazing people, and this is one of those times. When Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was born disabled, his family wanted his mum to kill him as they saw it as a curse. But thanks to the strength of the love between them, she refused and did everything in her power to give him a ‘normal’ life. And because of that, Emmanuel has gone on to achieve great success in awareness for the disabled and in making life easier and fairer for those with disabilities. In today’s show, Jacob talks to Emmanuel about helping people, changing perceptions and how the two of them met.
If you prefer to watch the discussion in action, here is my recorded interview with Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah (please refresh your browser a few times if it isn’t loaded properly the first time):
In this interview you’ll learn
- 04.12 – What made Emmanuel do his first bike ride
- 12.41 – Emmanuel’s thoughts on disability
- 15.05 – Emmanuel’s ideas about meeting famous people
- 19.02 – How Emmanuel got connected to Oprah
- 23.56 – How Emmanuel tries to change perceptions and spread his message
- 25.49 – How Emmanuel’s life has changed
- 32.29 – Emmanuel’s achievements and the future
Is there any question you have regarding the podcast guest that is not addressed in this blog post? Please leave me a comment below or send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would really appreciate your feedback, your suggestion on future guests, or just an opportunity to chat with you!