New global award honouring women with disabilities: Nominations for ‘Her Abilities’ start today

  • Nominations for ‘Her Abilities’ start today Nominations for ‘Her Abilities’ open from today 2nd July
  • Outstanding jury members from around the world announced
  • Spokespeople from the USA, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mali, Germany, Malawi, Chile, Mozambique

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 today, 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
  • Maria 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.
Jury statements, photos and further info are available here:


Notes to Editors:

  • Nominations open from 2nd July on www.her-abilities-award.org 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: www.her-abilities-award.org
  • Interview partners available upon request
  • More on Yetnebersh Nigussie, award initiator: https://bit.lv/2K5GVIJ

About the ‘Her Abilities’

Her Abilities, a Light for the World initiative, is the first global award celebrating the achievements of women with disabilities. The award is inspired and driven forward by Ethiopian disability rights activist Yetnebersh Nigussie - 2018 Spirit of Helen Keller Awardee and 2017 Right Livelihood Award Laureate.

Logo and corporate design are developed by pro bono agency PKP BBDO.

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
+44 7802 789640

About Light for the World

Light for the World is an international disability and development organisation whose vision is an inclusive society where no one is left behind. We enable crucial eye health services and empower people with disabilities in some of the poorest regions of the world. We break down barriers to enrich society and unlock the potential in all of us!