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Country of the Month

Haya Rawi– Lebanon

November 2022

“Working in the humanitarian field helped me accept my impairment and take it as a motivation to support others – especially people with disability" – Haya Rawi, IVLP Alumna 

In our November #CountryOfTheMonth feature, we are spotlighting Ms. Haya Rawi, an #IVLP alumna from #Lebanon who participated in a virtual IVLP titled "Advancing Disability in Inclusive Democracy”. During this program, Haya and her group virtually traveled to Washington, D.C. and Manchester, New Hampshire, where they explored U.S. disability policy and the best practices in promoting the rights of marginalized groups abroad. 

Haya is a Disability Inclusion Advisor with the International Committee of the Red Cross Lebanon in the Physical Rehabilitation Program. Her role entails the assurance of inclusion and full participation of Persons with Disability through access to societal integration programs, such as socio-economic projects and disability sports. When asked why she chose this line of work, Haya shared: “Since I was born, my impairment (upper limb amputation) was my motivation to be strong enough and to challenge myself and society. My Architecture background enhanced my skills related to Physical Accessibility for Persons with Disability in the WASH and Shelter sectors.” She further explains how she has been working in the field of inclusion for People with Disabilities since 2016, and that this has helped her with her own impairment. Haya explains: “Working in the Humanitarian field helped me in challenging life circumstances, accept my impairment and take it as a motivation to support others-especially people with disability.”  

When we asked Haya to share some highlights from her IVLP experience, she shared one of her favorite moments: “The best moment was learning about the disability field in US and mainly related to inclusive diplomacy. For instance, how several states are applying inclusive practices to ensure the participation of Persons with Disability in the election.” She further states: “I learned that in the USA the organizations are the key actors in all humanitarian work. It is not only the role of the government. They implement projects and monitor the work of the government/policies.” Haya also explained how the program was beneficial to her career: “We are working on a project about drafting new law for the Rights of Persons with Disability in Lebanon, in partnership with two Organizations of Persons with Disability (OPD) following the United Nation Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD). So, after the IVLP program, we emphasized the article related to inclusive democracy. We added more details about accessibility for Persons with Disability during the election.” 

When we asked Haya to share something interesting about Lebanon to those who may not know much about it, she explained how diverse and beautiful Lebanon is: “Lebanon is a stunning and geographically diverse country from ancient Roman ruins, castles, limestone caves to historic Churches and Mosques. Lebanon is well known for the exceptional panoramas in the Mediterranean Sea in addition to the delicious well known Lebanese cuisine, constant nightlife, and mountainous ski resorts.” 

To end the interview, Haya shared how she started creating social media content to spread awareness: “Last year I started creating content on Instagram about my daily life as a person with a Disability to raise awareness. I share reels/pictures about doing things with one hand as a person with an upper limb amputation, for example: cooking, driving, typing and dressing…etc. Now I have around 2900 followers, and I am looking forward to having more followers and influencing people.” Her personal Instagram where she posts her inspirational content is @hayarawi. 

Thank you, Haya, for sharing your amazing story and your important work in advocating for those with disabilities in Lebanon. We are inspired by you and your passion for your work! 

And thank you to our partners at the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire for your help in designing and implementing Haya and her group’s experience. 

Previous Features

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Haya Rawi (Lebanon)

“Working in the humanitarian field helped me accept my impairment and take it as a motivation to support others – especially people with disability"

This quote is from our November Country of The Month feature, Haya Rawi from Lebanon! She is an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) alumna who participated in a virtual program titled “Advancing Disability and Inclusive Democracy- A Project for Lebanon.”