AWLI Member Achievement: Rabeia Omar Increasing People with Disabilities Civic Participation

Omar (left) speaks with fellow AWLI board member Najat Zarouk of Morocco.

Omar (left) speaks with fellow AWLI board member Najat Zarouk of Morocco.

Amman, Jordan – More than one billion people, or approximately 15 percent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability, and around the world, persons with disabilities face physical, social, economic and discriminatory barriers that often exclude them from participating fully and effectively as equal members of society.  Rabeia Omar, a member of the Arab Women’s Leadership Institute’s (AWLI) Board of Directors, has committed herself to helping these people.

An engineer at the Public Electricity Company in Benghazi, Libya, Omar is a founding member of the Altogether in Support for Women with Disabilities society, which focuses on getting women with disabilities engaged in their communities specifically on issues such as poverty, health, education, women’s empowerment and the environment.  In her role, Omar hosts workshops and seminars in Libya and abroad, and was the featured speaker at a seminar on removing barriers and creating an inclusive and accessible society sponsored by the Benghazi local council on International Day for Persons with Disabilities in 2012.  During the seminar, Omar highlighted the need for increased public awareness of existing barriers to the full integration of persons with disabilities.

A long-time member of AWLI, Omar was elected to the Board of Directors on November 2, 2013, and has inspired women she has met through the Institute.  She has served as a trainer at past AWLI workshops, including a program focused on advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities.  Dedicated to encouraging persons with disabilities to be active in political development, including get-out-the-vote efforts and human rights awareness initiatives, Omar is an active civil society leader, and a member of the Association to Support Women with Kinetic Disabilities.

Through her work, Omar is giving a greater voice to women with disabilities in North Africa and throughout the Arab region and is a role model for future generations of Arab women leaders.

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