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Tanzila Khan, the young woman destigmatizing disability in Pakistan and beyond


*six-two changemaker of 2018 – human rights category

Tanzila Khan knows a thing or two about human rights and women’s rights, but what she’s really good at is opening up conversations around disability rights. You see, Tanzila is wheelchair bound and grew up in Pakistan, a country where being a disabled woman can be very isolating. Tanzila has made waves with her efforts to destigmatise disability there, and across the world.

Nominated by Sarain Fox, another inspiring woman in the human rights field, Tanzila is one of the Human Rights Champions for six-two’s 35 under 35 initiative, Tanzila doesn’t believe in limitations and not being able to walk is the only way being born with a disability has held her back. She is a motivational speaker, disability rights activist, published author two times over, and youth champion.

Tanzila’s passion for promoting respect for all people regardless of what their body can do has led her to write two highly acclaimed books, the proceeds of which were used to fund projects to empower women, disability destigmatisation and education. She also founded Creative Alley, a company that trains and empowers the community through collective projects and interactive events. There are countless reason Tanzila deserves to be applauded for her efforts, and Sarain suggests that it’s her life-changing actions that speak loudest to her: “Through her motivational speaking and activism, she is changing the lives of people living with disabilities in Pakistan and beyond,” Sarain explains.


Tanzila’s optimism, drive and never-quit attitude in the face of her struggles has not only granted her a TEDx (which you can watch below) but also the opportunity to represent her country, youth and disabled people in a worldwide forum, speaking before nation’s leaders in international forums about the issues facing disabled youth.  

Her ethos is simple too as she tells Youlin Magazine, she is grateful every day and that’s what drives her: “My motivation definitely comes from the fact that I am alive and I made it to this amazing planet, Earth, with so much to do and so much to contribute to. Along with that I am also inspired by how my parents coped with my birth despite it being very sudden for them. They live the example of giving back the best no matter what life gives you.”

Tanzila is truly a force to be reckoned with. If you’d like to follow her growing list of projects around youth education, disability awareness and women’s rights, follow her on Facebook or her website.

To learn more about the six-two 35 under 35 initiative, and to see the individuals who made the list, head here.