It has been close to 8 years although it seems like just the other day when I was involved in a road crash that left me quadriplegic – paralysed from the shoulders down and on a wheelchair. Learning how to adjust to living with a spinal cord injury was not only a huge challenge but also an overwhelming experience and everyday continues to be a experience. The Chariots of Destiny Organisation (C.O.D) was founded in 2007 with an initial aim to reach out to women in the country living with spinal cord injuries. Along the way I learned that just like my friends who perished in the road crash I was involved in, every year over 3000 innocent Kenyans are killed and close to 10,000 more injured and left permanently disabled as a result of road crashes. Globally we lose about 3500 people daily! Relieving my experience every day through the lives and families of those who have lost a loved one or who have received the tragic news of paralysis caused by a road crash was my call to action! I knew that I had to get into advocating for road safety and hopefully prevent more young lives being lost and more individuals getting injured.
COD has come a long way since we began our journey to reduce the number of road crashes not only in our country Kenya but also internationally. We have collaborated with different road safety organisations in the country and carried out several campaigns including launching the Make Roads Safe campaign and the World Day of Remembrance for road crash victims. Our Organisation has been involved in a number of road safety awareness campaigns including during the African road safety conferences held in Uganda and Tanzania as well as the United Nations General Assembly Road Safety debate in New York. The Chariots of Destiny Organisation was honored to collaborate with global NGOs advocating for road safety at the first conference held in Brussels, Belgium and most recently in Washington DC. COD also played a role at the first Global Ministerial Road safety conference held in Moscow, Russia where I spoke to over 1500 stakeholders present urging for immediate action to be taken to combat this epidemic taking place daily on our roads.
COD has also received a myriad of awards in recognition of our organization’s achievements in road safety advocacy including but not limited a commendation certificate under the Prince Michael of Kent award scheme in recognition of the organizations efforts in road safety as well and the 2010 annual road safety awards presented by the Association of Kenya insurers (AKI). I was also honored to receive the Month of Women Entrepreneurs (MOWE) 2010 award for most outstanding woman entrepreneur with a disability.
I strongly believe that road crashes are preventable! Towards this end, on the 11th of May organisations and individuals came together globally to launch the decade of action for road safety. If immediate action is not taken, if we choose to sit back and do nothing, by the year 2020 thousands more will be killed and disabled and millions of families will be affected. Road safety is our responsibility; road safety is YOUR responsibility! Together we can save millions of lives!
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