Woman Rising: Anji


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The Vicente Ferrer Foundation USA (VFF USA) is thrilled to announce the save-the date for our annual gala, “Recipe for Empowerment” as October 6th, 2017.
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“I was never called by my name. I was the girl with no legs.”
Stricken with polio at the age of three, Anji lost both of her legs. Her disability made her into a pariah in her village, where people called her “useless.” She was often confined to her room. She could hear the laughter of children outside, but could never join them in their games.
Anji’s family did not know what to do with her after the disease took away her mobility. Her parents sent her to a hospital operated by the Vicente Ferrer Foundation for recovery. Later, she was sent to a VFF school.
Her disability made the daily journey to school an excruciating experience. But she was determined.
“I crawled three kilometers to school each day,” she recalls. “My hands and legs would bleed. In the summer, they would burn.”
Anji is one of three women featured in VFF’s Virtual Reality Experience, “The Empowered,” which is premiering at our Recipe for Empowerment launch event on Sept. 22 in Washington, D.C. These women represent the transformation that is at the heart of our work.
Through VFF, Anji received a secondary education and job skills.  She learned how to do embroidery. She obtained a job at the Integrated Development Trust (IDT), a VFF program that gives job skills and fair trade employment to hundreds of women with physical and intellectual disabilities. Over the years, IDT and the people it helps have become like a family to Anji. Today, she is an instructor of embroidery for young girls and women who, like her, are looking for a way to prove that disabilities are not limits. 
“I’m no longer known as ‘the girl with no legs,’” she says. “My students respect me, and I’m teaching them the skills that they need to be independent.”