Black disabled activist Katouche wears many hats: singer, content creator and graduate. We speak to her about her life, activism and future plans. Read on for more!
Katouche Goll is confident that her race and disability add value to her life. The 23-year-old graduated in 2019 with a first class honours degree in history from the prestigious SOAS, University of London, and since then has worked to raise awareness of the issues facing black disabled people.
Katouche was born with Cerebral Palsy and she is determined to lead as full a life as she can and to promote positive images for black disabled people. “I have no problems being black and disabled. I feel it adds value to me, it’s part of human life,” she said.
At SOAS, formerly called the School of Oriental and African Studies, Katouche studied African, Middle Eastern and South Asian history. “I really enjoyed my time there. I felt so lucky to learn so much about the world people don’t usually get the chance to hear about because it’s considered niche. I like to carry that across all the work that I do. There’s a need to go outside people’s own personal paradise.”
Getting a Scheme car
Since her childhood Katouche’s parents have had a Motability Scheme car on her behalf, as named drivers. But Katouche is really excited about getting her next Scheme car, which she will be able to drive herself, and has in fact already chosen the make and model she likes best.
“I went to an assessment centre and had a whizz around the car park and one or two roundabouts. I really enjoyed it. It was exhilarating. I’m determined to have that skill and that independence. I won’t let anything get in the way of me doing this. The assessment gave me a real feel of what it’s like to drive.
“I’ve already chosen the car I want – a Kia Stonic, an SUV style car. It has lots of character and it’s quite a big car – big vehicle small girl! It looks like a mini jeep. And the newer version works with the adaptations I need – the push pull and break accelerator and no foot pedals.”
Find out more about driving with adaptations in this article.
Katouche’s work and goals
Katouche is looking for a career in PR and has interned at the BBC and also featured on a Radio 1 Xtra programme about people with disabilities. She sings in a band called Imminent which played gigs before the pandemic. Katouche also creates online content and is involved in helping to raise the visibility of black disabled people.
The lockdown has helped Katouche with her work. “The work enriches my life and the pandemic and lockdown gave me a focus. I managed to find something I can get involved with. It’s quite challenging but this work has made a difference to my everyday life. It’s been an important learning curve as I find out about other people’s experiences. I felt isolated before but meeting young people like me and learning from them has been hugely beneficial as well as enjoyable.”
Katouche doesn’t think of her work just in the context of being disabled. “It’s more to do with helping to break down barriers in society. My creative outlets give me a chance to overcome these barriers and help other young disabled people to as well.
“So as well as using my own experiences to increase awareness I am at the same time learning about other people’s experiences and that’s very rewarding.”
Katouche chairs a Disabled Black Lives Matter group which promotes inclusive education and awareness of the intersectionality within the disabled experience.
“What I want to see is the social model being put into practice and for people to understand the importance of removing barriers. I want the disability movement to lean in and take responsibility for making sure there are opportunities for black disabled people to be part of the movement. I want to lead and teach.”
“People seem to think you can be black or disabled but you can’t be both! So I am representing something many people find hard to imagine.”
We can all learn from this says Katouche. “Nobody benefits form a narrow perception of what’s normal. The mainstream consensus leaves out most people in the world. And limits our experience if you fall outside of that. “
“I love learning and sharing what I’ve learned so like to share with as many people as possible. I love writing about it and help to create a greater awareness. I want more people to know how it feels to be black and disabled. I feel I am assisting in that and I’m very happy about it. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback and support. Helped more people to have these opportunities and that makes me feel enriched. I’m helping people to learn about experiences different from their own.”
About the Motability Scheme
If you care for someone who is in receipt of a higher rate mobility allowance, you may not be aware that the Motability Scheme’s worry-free mobility package is designed to help.
The Motability Scheme supports families in staying mobile by offering a unique, all-inclusive leasing package for brand new cars from all the major manufacturers. If you care for a child or someone who doesn’t drive, you can be added as a named driver instead. And as well as standard cars from a range of manufacturers, cars with adaptations, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, scooters and powered wheelchairs are available too.
If you’d like to find out more about the Scheme, request an information pack below and we’ll send you all the information that you need to make the right choice.