Stronger together

As a Ghanaian-born/Black British child of migrant parents, identity is significant for Esther Asibey, driving her to set up a new network

Esther Asibey
Esther Asibey is a neurological physiotherapist, who co-founded the ACPT network

Identity shapes and informs my perspective on life, people and community. Growing up my parents, aunts and uncles would share the challenges they faced navigating life in the UK. 

They often emphasised the importance of two things: knowing who you are and belonging to a community that represents you, especially in a ‘foreign’ place. This sense of self and shared community is something they found beneficial to surviving and thriving in the UK. 

As a student, I remember on several occasions where I felt foreign and had lost my sense of belonging within the profession. There were very few Black physiotherapists I could find and reach out to for authentic support – until I met Wendy Vaughan. Her mentorship and warm advice created a safe space for me to breathe, learn and feel accepted. These valuable experiences led me and Hannah Oladugba to establish the African and Caribbean Physiotherapy (ACPT) network in 2019.

The network is a safe, positive and practical community for aspiring and professional Black physiotherapists. 

We provide mentorship, skills-based workshops, advocacy and tailored support for members throughout their professional journey. We’re also equipped with resources to provide workshops and training for external organisations/departments on topics surrounding equality, diversity and inclusion from the perspective of black ethnic minority students and professionals in the workplace. 

The past year has shown us that community matters more, now, than ever.

Although there is no denying the lack of Black representation, particularly in senior and management positions in physiotherapy, the past year has shown us that community matters more, now, than ever. 

One thing we can all do for Black and other ethnic minority groups, whilst they continue to excel, is to create a respectful, safe environment to understand their unique individuality and how best to support them, on their own terms. We strive to ensure all members feel valued. 

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