Mohammed Yousuf stopped walking at the age of about 2 years; the polio that attacked his body left most of it paralyzed but for his spirit. Even though he was too little to know about what is going on; the social norms, unfriendly society, lack of access to school and transportation, pretty much left him house bound, in isolation and segregated. He went to school for the first time at the age of 12; and since never looked back.
The challenges, the barriers, the accessibility and inclusion issues faced by him left in him a deep desire to fight against the same issues that once challenged his very existence. His disability and the experience of dealing with his own and the society have left him exposed in some cunning ways to the gaps, challenges and the opportunities in disability development and inclusion.
In 2001, he started EquallyAble Foundation (formerly HelpHandicap) with few other friends. Ten years later, the foundation has done some remarkable work to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities, not only in India where he was born, but across the United States and other countries.
He received his bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Osmania University, India in 1988, a master’s degree in Computer Engineering from the Wayne State University, USA in 1992, CAPS certification from Housing University in 2006, Universal Design, Fair Housing & ADA/ABA Guidelines from Harvard University in 2007 and Assistive Technology Applications from California State University in 2008. He received a patent “7525931” in 2009 for his work on on “wireless multiplex systems and methods for controlling devices in a vehicle”.
He has presented in various international conferences and conventions, and spoken at a number of gatherings on the issues of disability inclusion and awareness. He works as a transportation researcher and lives with his wife and three children in Fairfax, Virginia.
For more stories please click the links below: