Running Without Limits Even in a Wheelchair

"Believe you can and you are already halfway there" - Theodore Roosevelt

Zulaifi, known as Ipi, was born 29 years ago without both legs up to the upper thigh and with only 2 fingers. Zulaifi is one of the entrepreneurs for sanitation supported by Yayasan Plan International Indonesia (Plan Indonesia) through its Women, Disability Inclusive and Nutrition-Sensitive (WINNER) programme in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB). As an entrepreneur in sanitation who produces quality toilets at an affordable price, Zulaifi also has another achievement, winning 2nd place in the Maybank Marathon 2022 Wheelchair Category in Bali (28/08/2022).

As one of the representatives of the Lombok Independent Disabilitas Indonesia (LIDI) Foundation organisation who participated in the Maybank Marathon this time, Zulaifi along with his friends proudly brought home a medal. This achievement was not an easy journey, with intense training and a strong desire, Zulaifi and other disabled friends, Mukti Hadi and Iskandar Zulkarnaen, managed to show that disability is not a limitation.

Honing entrepreneurial skills

Being born with a disability was not easy for Zulaifi as his childhood was full of bullying and discrimination. This led Zulaifi to quit school when he was in grade 3 and never continued his education

After becoming a teenager, Zulaifi continued to hone his entrepreneurial skills so that he could live independently. Currently, Zulaifi is engaged in the online electronics business, with services ranging from buying and selling to servicing electronics. One of his disabled friends, Zainal Abidin, works as an electronics repairman and works hand-in-hand with Zualifi to develop his business.

Photo Credit: Abdul Rohman/Plan Indonesia

Currently, Zulaifi is part of Pade Angen, a group of sanitation entrepreneurs whose members consist of people with disabilities from Central Lombok Regency, NTB. The group was founded by Lalu Wisnu Pradipta, a wheelchair user who was moved by the reality of how people with disabilities struggle to access safe and comfortable sanitation facilities in their daily lives.

Since 2019, the WINNER programme has supported Pade Angen's activities through capacity building such as sanitation entrepreneurship training, marketing and financial management to win the Water Supply and Environmental Health (AMPL) Award in 2022 organised by Bappenas. Through the STBM-GESI (Community-Based Total Sanitation encompassing gender and social inclusion) approach, Plan Indonesia also encourages governments and communities to implement STBM by paying more attention to marginalised groups, including women, girls, people with disabilities, and the elderly.

Zulaifi, has benefited from the Wirasuha Sanitasi training organised by Plan Indonesia. Together with Wisnu, he has succeeded in creating good quality toilets with competitive prices. His toilets intrest many people so he has been able to sell hundreds of them. Despite his physical limitations, Zulaifi is able to produce toilets and earn a good income. "I can send my children to school, pay for a motorbike, and buy a TV. I also actively promote my products online through social media and marketplaces," he explained.

Even with so many achievements, Zulaifi doesn't want to stop there. Improving capacity and capability is Zulaifi's motivation to keep going. Zulaifi hopes that he and other people with disabilities can continue to get opportunities to work and voice their rights, such as running without limits even in a wheelchair.