Health & Education

Winner name: Toyin Janet Aderemi
Country: Nigeria
Reason for winning: “Toyin Janet Aderemi has impressed me, because she is unbelievably dedicated to the interests of people with disabilities. At the same time, she has a spectacular CV and uses her experience to advocate for sexual and reproductive health – an issue which is especially important for people with disabilities.” (jury member Ninia La Grande)

Short bio: Dr Aderemi is the first indigenous Country Representative of CBM Nigeria and the first person in a wheelchair to study and practice pharmacy in Nigeria. Toyin was left unable to walk due to contracting polio in her childhood. Her mother used to carry her on her back to and from school until she got her first wheelchair at age 16. She is an experienced disability-inclusive development practitioner and researcher, working to influence government and development policies for social inclusion. She has a background in public health, with an expertise in disability-inclusive sexual and reproductive health and rights, and a PhD in behavioural Medicine.

Quote, Toyin’s message for women with disabilities: 
“Do not allow others to determine what you can do and what you can attain. Make good use
of whatever you have left as an opportunity to explore and break boundaries.”

Arts, Culture & Sports

Winner name: Musola Catherine Kaseketi
Country: Zambia
Reason for winning: “I was inspired by her story, her strength and perseverance and above all for her educational spirit” (jury member Mariam Doumbia)

Short bio: Musola Cathrine Kaseketi is a Zambian filmmaker and human rights activist. She is Zambia’s first female professional film director. As a young child, a medical error paralysed one of her legs and she has mobility difficulties as a result. Initially she trained as a filmmaker in South Africa, then she studied human rights advocacy and cinema to enhance her skills so she could use the power of film as a tool. She was subsequently a disability equality facilitator with the International Labour Organisation. Her first film, Suwi (“Faith”), which she wrote, directed and produced, was released in 2009, and was screened all over Africa, as well as in several European countries. Shortly after the release of Suwi, Kaseketi set up the Women and Girls with Disability Rights of Zambia formerly known as Pachibwanse Corner(Women's Meeting Place), a project to empower and improve the lives of women and girls with disabilities. Many of her films and documentaries address the social issues affecting women and girls with disabilities. In 2016 she hosted the first Gender Based Violence  Conference against women with disabilities. She is also the founder of Vilole (View) Images Productions (VIP), a nonprofit foundation which educates young Zambian filmmakers, began Zambia’s first international film festival, Shungu Namutitima (Smoke That Thunders), and is an Advisor for the Zambia National Association for Women with Disabilities.

Quote, Musola’s message for women with disabilities:

“Look at your obstacles as your motivations to achieve your goals. Ignore all the negative
intimidating voices. Embrace the positive, empowering words because you are just like any
other woman.”


Winners name: Ashrafun Nahar
Country: Bangladesh
Reason for winning: “I recommend Ashrafun Nahal from Bangladesh for the category “Rights”, because of the work she is doing both in her country, region and internationally. She has created and been involved with the creation of a number of organizations that are focusing on the empowerment of disabled women and addressing issues such as gender-based violence which is a significant problem that disabled and non-disabled women face. (jury member Judith Heumann)

Short Bio: Ashrafun “Misti” Nahar is the founder of the Women with Disabilities Development Foundation (WDDF) in Bangladesh, as well as a member of international organisations Asia Pacific Women with Disabilities United (APWWDU) and the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID). Troubled by the gap in services available to women with disabilities, Misti concluded that they needed their own platform for defending their rights. So began the WDDF, which aims to give women with disabilities a voice, and to create equal opportunities in education, employment and most significantly domestic policy-making. The WDDF also works closely with other women’s organisations in Bangladesh, which often overlook the unique needs of women with disabilities. Many of them are growing increasingly sensitive to the particular needs of women with disabilities through their collaboration with WDDF. Ashrafun’s personal mission, herself a woman with a physical disability who has suffered marginalisation, is to ensure Bangladesh is a country where women with disabilities can live in a barrier-free society with full dignity. Her hope is that by advocating for disability rights and establishing strong connections with Government, discrimination will be eradicated.

Quote, Ashrafun’s message for women with disabilities: 

“We have such potential which proves women with disabilities are active citizens whose
contribution to society should not be underestimated. As fellow human beings, women and
girls with disabilities have equal dignity. Though society, and in some instances even family,
are still not prepared to give you the same respect, we deserve prosperity like anyone else.”