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2013 Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon

On Thursday, May 2nd, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) held its annual 2013 Voices of Courage awards luncheon at Cipriani in New York City. This year’s theme was “Disabled. Displaced. Determined.” 

Dahabo Hassan Maow and Atim Caroline Ogwang, two young refugee women leaders with disabilities, were honored for their work to advance the rights of displaced persons with disabilities, and the Government of Australia (represented by Ambassador Gary Quinlan, Australia’s ambassador to the UN in New York) was recognized for its international leadership in disability inclusion in the humanitarian sector.

Read more about our honorees here.

Award presenters included Deogratias Niyizonkiza, a former refugee and founder of Village Health Works in Burundi, Charlotte V. McClain-Nhlapo, Coordinator of USAID’s Office for Disability and Inclusive Development, and Sandra Uwiringiy’imana, an 18-year-old singer and former refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The luncheon also featured a moving tribute to WRC founder Catherine O’Neill, who passed away earlier in December 2012, presented by WRC’s former board vice chair Jurate Kazickas

  • See photos of the event on our Facebook page here.
  • See a photo essay of shots from the event here.
  • Watch video of the event here.
  • Read Dahabo's acceptance speech here.
  • Reach Caroline's acceptance speech here.
  • Read Jurate Kazickas' tribute to Catherine O'Neill here.
  • Listen to Caroline's interview by Voice of America here.

caroline gets award catherine dahabo speaks

Disabled. Displaced. Determined.

Displaced persons with disabilities are among the most vulnerable populations anywhere, facing the challenges of both disability and displacement. They are often invisible, unable to leave their shelters or navigate their community. Many are unable to access humanitarian aid programs because of physical and social barriers or because of negative attitudes and biases.

The Women’s Refugee Commission is at the forefront of organizations working to change this. We are committed to advancing the rights and dignity of refugees and displaced persons with disabilities. We promote their voices and participation in all our activities, bridging the gap between this group and those dedicated to carrying out assistance programs.

Through research, advocacy and training, we are working with the UN refugee agency and its partners across the world to enhance programs that promote the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities. Our goal is to enable them to live full lives and make meaningful contributions to their communities.

In addition to raising awareness about the needs and rights of displaced women and girls with disabilities, the event raised over $500,000 to support the WRC’s work with refugees around the world. The luncheon was attended by more than 400 guests, including UN ambassadors, government officials, international business leaders, young professionals and press.

Read more about our work with disability issues here.

Continue to support our work!