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Champion for people with disabilities passes on

Champion for people with disabilities passes on
Rose Ann Foster-Vaughan (FILE)

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People with disabilities are mourning the loss of longtime advocate Rose Ann Foster-Vaughan who passed away yesterday.

Foster-Vaughan was born with cerebral palsy, but it was no deterrent to how she lived, spending almost 30 years speaking up on behalf of her community

“Before I came into the movement I did not fully understand what people with disabilities had to go through because I was educated in the able-bodied schools,” she said in an interview with The Nation back in 2017.

“I did not go to special schools and I came from a very supportive and enabling family. I had two very strong women, my mother and sister, and they always taught me that ‘Rose Ann you can do anything you want and to hell with anybody else who thinks otherwise’.”

Foster-Vaughan’s activism started when she joined the Barbados National Organisation of the Disabled (BARNOD). Later she was employed full time with the Barbados Workers’ Union, but had her biggest impact as admin project officer at the Barbados Council for the Disabled.

One of her goals was to get people to see past the disability.

“When I get you to see me then you realise that this is an intelligent person you are talking to, not some giddy-headed, foolish girl,” she said. “People always have their perception. Once they see a physical disability they figure that your brain is disabled too but their brains work just fine.”

She was married to Roger, who is legally blind, for the past 19 years.

The Barbados Council for the Disabled paid tribute to her on its Facebook page:

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. Martin Luther King Jr.

This is how our cherished friend, colleague, champion for Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rose Ann Foster Vaughan who yesterday… moved on from this earthly home to the next lived.

The Barbados Council for the Disabled is saddened beyond words at this time and ask that you join us in remembering this spirited butterfly who flew on to another life after making an amazing impact in the lives of so many.

Our prayers and thoughts go out to Roger, Pearl, Mum, numerous relatives and friends… and her ‘family’ at the Barbados Council for the Disabled.”  (SAT)