Marian Askia (1954-2021): fighter for the disabled and schools
A school counsellor who headed the Bermuda National Parent Teachers Association was a powerful voice for the island’s schools.
Marian Askia, a counsellor at East End Primary and St David’s Preschool, was also president of the Amputee Association of Bermuda.
Ms Askia, who has died, spoke on education issues throughout the 1990s as the island considered the introduction of middle schools and changing examination requirements.
Ms Askia made the National PTA a “watchdog” on behalf of parents.
She was not afraid to take a stand and did so in protest over 1993 proposals for budget cuts to education.
Ms Askia told The Royal Gazette at the time: “When you make a lot of noise, people listen.
“What we want is the parents and the children out there saying ‘I am worthwhile. I am important. I count. I am the future’.
“Make sure they know we will not put up with the cuts.”
She led protest marches over cuts to the education budget.
Ms Askia said she was non-partisan but that whoever held the Government had to be accountable.
She added: “If they are not doing their job, they will have to answer to parents.”
The Association of School Principals honoured her in 1993 for “outstanding leadership in the realm of education”.
Ms Askia also campaigned for amputees in Bermuda, who often had to contend with problems with transport and access to support services.
She helped recruit the volunteers needed to help amputees get around the island.
The all-volunteer group, part of the Amputee Coalition of America, held monthly meetings and organised information seminars.
Ms Askia’s training included certification as a peer visitor so she could make support visits to the hospital or to people’s homes.
Her husband, the late Carlton Askia, played a lead role in organising the dockworkers division of the Bermuda Industrial Union.
She is survived by daughters Carlene and Jasmine Askia.
• Marian Mary Aminah Askia was born on September 5, 1954. She died in 2021, aged 66.