Women with Disabilities as Agents of Change - Examples from the Arab World


To celebrate the contributions of women with disabilities to society, a public event took place in Brussels.


In the frame of the partnership between the Arab Women Solidarity Association (AWSA) and CBM, a project presenting success stories of women with disabilities from the Arab world was concluded by a public event on May 27th. The concluding event took place in front of a public coming mainly from Arab countries and living in Brussels, with the goal of raising awareness about success stories of women with disabilities in the Arab world and exchanging on participants views regarding disability.

Eight women have been selected from six different Arab countries, which are Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. All the selected women are leaders and advocates for human rights in general and the rights of persons with disabilities in particular, and they have different backgrounds and professions, ranging from being a teacher to being a medical representer, or leading a clothes shop. 

Leading by example

The common features among the selected women are basically their determination, their engagement in advocacy, and their hope for a better future for persons with disabilities in their respective countries. All of them are engaged in the movement of persons with disabilities in their countries, and are working each from their position to make their countries implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and national laws related to disability, provide services for persons with disabilities, improve inclusive education, make employment accessible for persons with disabilities, etc.

The event

The event started with an introduction of the two partners represented by Lars Bosselmann from CBM's Department for International Advocacy and Alliances and Alicia Arbid from AWSA. This introduction was followed by a PowerPoint presentation of the project, its objectives, the participants and the common challenges and success factors, presented by Rima Dhrif from CBM. After the question time and the coffee break, a video interview with one of the portrayed women was projected in front of the audience, followed by a workshop to work on the success stories in small groups.

Impact of the event

The experience of many participants regarding disability was very diverse. Some of them had family members living with a disability, while others had never really thought about persons with disabilities in society. But at the end of the event, participants said that they had a much better understanding of how persons with disabilities can contribute to all areas of life and in all countries.

Based on the success stories and the public event, CBM will continue its partnership with AWSA, in order to reach-out to many more people in the future.

Examples from the Arab World

Fatima Zohra Belghiti is a Morocco-American 50-year-old woman who is a wheelchair user and who also has a psychosocial disability

Read more 

Zainab Al-Akabi has created a lot of awareness about disability and about women with disabilities in Iraq and in the Arab world in general

Read more

Temna TABIB has made a significant contribution as an advocate for women with disabilities and Tunisian women in general.

Read more

Sabrina Hossine has dedicated her life to advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities.

Read more

Rima Canawati has dedicated her life to advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities and is recognised as a leader in the disability movement.

Read more

Dr. Heba HAGRASS is an activist from Egypt who uses a wheelchair. This article highlights why Heba is a good role model for women with disabilities.

Read more

Bouraouia Agrebi is a 47 year-old blind woman from Tunisia. This article highlights why Bouraouia is a good role model for women with disabilities.

Read more

Amal Shamari is a physically impaired woman from Palestine. This article highlights why she is a good role model for women with disabilities.

Read more