Ishumael Zhou is a visually impaired disability rights advocate. He became blind at the age of seven due to measles. Mr. Zhou is currently the President of the African Union of the Blind. He works as Executive Director of Zimbabwe National League of the Blind and the chairperson of an umbrella entity for over 50 organizations and persons with disabilities in Zimbabwe. He worked as a CBR Coordinator for a local disability organization and started the CBR project from scratch, expanding it into a fully-fledged stand-alone department. Mr. Zhou served on the National Disability Board, a government entity, for eighteen years and served on the Private Voluntary Organisation board as a board member for eight years. Mr. Zhou also worked as the chief researcher with the African Rehabilitation Institute (ARI) on orientation and mobility.
In past years, he worked with the Zimbabwe Public Service Commission as the lead researcher on service conditions for persons with disabilities working in the civil service with Zimbabwe’s government, which sought to introduce employment for teaching assistants for visually impaired teachers. His collaboration with the Zimbabwe government is now reaching over 2000 people nationwide. He worked as a technical advisor for a local humanitarian organization on disability inclusion to WASH services. He worked as a commissioner on Zimbabwe’s constitution commission and drafted a new constitution representing persons with disabilities. He was part of the leadership that lobbied for enacting the Disabled Persons Act and the ratification of the CRPD by the government of Zimbabwe.
He holds a degree in development studies and a diploma in social development.