At veza, we honour the work of inspiring leaders every single day. Not just the known and notable but rather, everyday women who are drawing upon and celebrating their culture while making a lasting difference in their community using their gifts. From authors and teachers, CEOs to entrepreneurs, not-for-profit directors, artists, and more, these women are changing the face of leadership.

These are truly women to watch and veza community is so pleased to share their brilliance.

May their stories inspire YOU to rise.

Meet Manjeet Ghangass.

Manjeet is a 31-year-old young woman who has Down Syndrome.

This is not a label that slows her down: she is a feisty and ardent advocate for herself and others as an ambassador of the Self-Advocates of Semiahmoo (SAS).

She is kind and considerate of all people, and at a young age, she wrote a book to support others in elementary school.

As a young woman who identifies as having a disability, Manjeet wants everyone to know that people with disabilities are people too. In her own words:

“We have feelings, hopes, and dreams that we want to achieve. I love to dance, rock out, and make time to do yoga every day. Moving my body makes me feel young. Recently I had the opportunity to take a leadership class through SFU. The program is called Community Leaders Igniting Change (CLIC). It really inspired me to get it together, dig down and make my own dreams into a reality for myself.”

There are a lot of amazing things about Manjeet, and while we cannot predict the future, we can tell that hers will be great.

So tell us, Manjeet: What inspires you most? What motivates you to get up every morning?

My close friends are really important to me. Their support and love keep me motivated.

How do you feel that your actions teach or inspire others?

I show them that having a disability doesn’t define me. I am a strong, confident, outgoing young woman.

What is one change you’d like to see in the world?

I would love to see more support for couples with special needs.

Which of your contributions to date have given you the greatest sense of pride?

I think my years of advocacy are what I am most proud of. I love sharing my personal story in hopes that I can help improve other people’s quality of life:

  •      Volunteer at Canada Day celebrations, 2010 Olympics Celebrations
  •      Presented to politicians about the Canadian Inclusive Lives Learning Initiative developed by the Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship at UBC
  •      Featured in Mehfil Magazine in an article about her passion for educating ethnic groups in her community about the importance of raising and caring for children with disabilities. This popular South Asian Canadian magazine was carried on Air Canada flights to India.
  •      Interviewer with the Quality of Life project, a Community Living BC initiative
  •      Talked about accessibility and disability on Global News, the Harpreet SINGH Show, and radio Red FM

Anything else you’d like to add?

I am available for presentations through the Self-Advocates of Semiahmoo, Equally Empowered program. To find out about this opportunity, please contact me at sas@shsbc.ca

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Manjeet! Learn more about her work and stay connected via social media @Manjeet.Ghangass, or Facebook: Facebook.com/SelfAdvocateSAS

These everyday heroes embody the fact that we ALL do amazing things that other people may not know about, simply because these stories aren’t shared publicly.

At veza, our biggest mission is the change that…starting with our weekly #leadersofveza showcase!

If you know a leader we should feature please invite her to share her story with us here.