For CNN, Hero of the Year is Colombian Christian born with a disability dedicated to children with disabilities

Nothing predisposed Jeison Aristizábal, 33 years old, to become the CNN Hero of the Year 2016. Indeed Jeison was born disabled in one of the poorest regions of Cali, Colombia. Her life has been a constant battle. Suffering from cerebral palsy, the doctors have no hope in the future of the little boy, going so far as to declare to his mother that he "will never get anywhere".

PHowever, family support, his tenacious spirit and his independence pushed Jeison to move beyond his natural shackles. This man overcame his handicaps to answer the call of God and helping Colombian disabled children. Because Jeison wishes today's disabled children do not go through the sufferings he went through.

At school, Jeison experiences rejection and mockery from his classmates, but his mom chooses to keep him in a formal school. She will courageously raise him and her 3 other children, alone after the death of her husband in a street fight. At school, Jeison shows good skills, gives the best of himself and does very well.

It was in the garage of the family home that his work for the defense of the rights of disabled people began in Aguablanca. He set up a physiotherapy room and a space with a psychologist. The center for helping children with disabilities has grown and developed more and more. Several reception centers are now open and more than 1000 disabled children have benefited from free care, advice and adapted materials.

Jeison was named Hero of the Year 2016 last Sunday, on the occasion of “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute”, alongside 10 other heroes of daily life, after 6 weeks of votes from the audience on social networks. He will receive $ 100 to continue his work with disabled youth.

Jeison dedicates his entire life to giving more chances to those who, like him, were born hampered, and lectures to explain “his secrets to being happy”.

Jeison Aristizábal told CNN:

“Today I understand that God chose me to help disabled children and their families, to build a dream chain. I'm about to get my law degree, and I want to use it to change the laws of my country. ”


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