Nominations open for Her Abilities – an award honouring women with disabilities

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Story: Nominations open for Her Abilities - an award honouring women with disabilities/ Her Abilities Award logo

Press Release:

Nominations for Her Abilities, a new global award celebrating the achievements of women with disabilities in the areas of Health & Education | Rights | Arts, Culture & Sports, are open from 2nd July till 30th September.

Her Abilities, a Light for the World initiative, is inspired and driven forward by Ethiopian disability activist Yetnebersh Nigussie – 2018 Spirit of Helen Keller Awardee and 2017 Right Livelihood Award Laureate.

The main message of this award is: focus on our 99 abilities, not our one disability!” says Nigussie.

An independent award jury who is made up of brilliant women from around the world will together select the winners for three award categories: Health & Education / Rights / Arts, Culture & Sports* The winners of the ‘Her Abilities’ award will be announced on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (3rd December).

Among the international jury members are outstanding women, including disability rights activists, advocates, artists, and academics:

  • Shantha Rau Barriga, Director of the disability rights division at Human Rights Watch, USA
  • María Soledad Cisternas Reyes, Law professor, Special Envoy of General Secretary of the UN on Disability and Accessibility, Chile
  • Ninia LaGrande, Writer, host, poetry slammer, Germany
  • Ekaete Judith Umoh, Social inclusion and disability expert, Nigeria
  • Farida Gulamo, first (former) President of the Paralympic Committee, activist in sport and education, Mozambique
  • Rachel Kachaje, disability rights activist, former Minister of Persons with Disability and Elderly Affairs, Malawi
  • Mariam Doumbia, musician, part of the Grammy nominated Duo Amadou & Mariam, Mali

More members will be announced over the coming weeks.

  *Notes to Editors:

  • Nominations open from 2nd July on and close September 30th.
  • Laureates will be announced on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3rd December.
  • Jury member bios and statements, photos, videos, criteria, factsheet about women with disabilities and more via:
  • Interview partners available upon request
  • More on Yetnebersh Nigussie, award initiator:

The three categories:

Health & Education

Women with disabilities from the health or education sector, including but not limited to: teachers, teaching assistants, school directors, university professors, doctors, surgeons, nurses.


Women with disabilities from the advocacy and rights sector, who advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and inclusion. They could be working at NGOs or charities, in the business world, at government organisations or in government or simply in their local communities to achieve vital change.

 Arts, Culture & Sports

Women with disabilities from the arts, culture, and sports sectors, including but not limited to: artists, actors, writers, poets, Paralympians, runners, swimmers.

For interview requests and further information, please contact:

Marianne Fobel, Light for the World