Abby Brooke

About Abby

My interests include Music, travel, books, world cultures, art, history … including many others.

I am no stranger to a global perspective; having made a few trips overseas, took a year backpacking around Australia, spending two years studying in South Africa & a month in Spain Walking the 800km Camino de Santiago; But Kenya has been my home and heart from birth.

Growing up, I was never quite like the other kids. Due to the lack of knowledge at the time in Kenya, doctors and professionals misdiagnosed me with a number of different labels. While in the UK at the age of 13, I was seen by Dr. Lorna Wing at the National Autistic Society. Dr. Wing diagnosed me with Asperger Syndrome, a high-functioning form of Autism. I told no one – and had no one to explain it to me. It was not a diagnosis understood by anyone I associated with. I spent a large chunk of my life not really knowing anything about who I was. Bullied and teased almost constantly throughout (and even after) my school years, I lost a lot of self-confidence, had extreme anxiety issues and developed chronic depression. By age 18 I had attempted suicide.

In 2011, I reached out to the wider Autistic world on social media. Connecting with other people who ‘got me’ was life-changing in the best way. My whole world changed; I was finally able to find my own place in the world. This was where my learning started.

This led me to connect with individuals in Kenya who were involved in Autism and other disabilities. Speaking with others, volunteering in the field, and doing my own research provided me a deeper understanding on the issues surrounding disabilities in Africa.

My own journey of understanding who I am has changed me as a person. I want to do my part in changing how Africa (and the world) sees those with disabilities; passing on what I’ve learned in a way. Hugely galvanised by two of my biggest inspirations in travel – Ffyona Campbell and Robyn Davidson, who both showed me that with determination & a dream, anything can be possible; I want to prove to others and the children I meet that no matter what challenges they face, their dreams are valid.