Her Abilities Award winners honoured at ZERO Project Conference

An event celebrating diversity

At this year’s ZERO Project Conference focused on "Independent Living and Political Participation”, Toyin Aderemi, Musola Kaseketi and Ashrafun Nahar – the winners of the 2018 Her Abilities Awards – were honoured for their achievements in advancing the rights and recognition of women with disabilities worldwide.

The three winners of the Her Abilities Award with celebrities. © Thomas Meyer PhotographyJoined by over a hundred guests, the UK’s leading disability studies academic and Light for the World trustee Tom Shakespeare welcomed the three winners at an inclusive event on 22nd February co-hosted by Light for the World and international partners, including Able Magazine and the inclusive dance company Lilli’s Ballroom.

"It is a great pleasure to have all three winners here in Vienna and we are able to honour them in person today”, said Austria’s former Minister of Women and Health, Maria Rauch-Kallat as the winners received a unique award statuette produced by disabled artists from Mozambique.
For the 3 winners it was a great experience to be in Vienna and to be able to speak at the Zero Project Conference and the award ceremony. All three confirmed, "getting the award is a big honour and a light for many other women with disabilities around the world to go on and pursue their way to show the world that women with disabilities are everywhere and strong.”
Toyin Aderemi said excited: "When I was 15 years old I didn’t even have a wheelchair and had to crawl on the floor. Now I am standing here and speak to the world. This award will give me a lot of power for my future life”.
Dance with me! Dance without barriers – an event celebrating diversity
In the spirit of the disability rights initiative ZERO Project, the ceremony for the Her Abilities winners was followed by a diverse programme comprising both an inclusive dance performance by disabled and non-disabled dancers and a music act by the Austrian singer and songwriter Vincent Bueno ( After the ceremony Lillis Ballroom showed an inclusive dance performance and invited all guests to dance with them. Many people also used the opportunity to dance blindfolded.

The event was co-hosted by Light for the World, Lillis Ballroom and Zero Project and supported by UniCredit Bank Austria.
Light for the World
Light for the World is a global disability and development organisation, breaking down barriers to enrich society and unlock the potential in all of us. We enable crucial eye health services and empower people with disabilities in some of the poorest regions of the world. We focus on the poorest and hardest to reach because those people need it most. We create change through local people, organisations and governments because we want our impact to last. We try new things because we believe in the power of innovation. We work with partners because we cannot do it alone.

Zero Project
The Zero Project Conference is a unique meeting point of people who inspire and want to be inspired, of innovators and change-makers. It is held annually in the Vienna Headquarters of the United Nations, and brings together some 600 participants from more than 70 countries. At the heart of the conference are presentations of the Innovative Practices and Policies as well as by international decision-makers and opinion leaders from all sectors of society – the Zero Project network and partners.

Lillis Ballroom
Lillis Ballroom is the first barrier-free Latin dance studio in Vienna. Teaching and learning takes place with a new approach, which was developed together with blind and visually impaired people and Juan Lange (Berlin/Uruguay). The resulting LATIN ROOTS impress with their simplicity and the feeling of togetherness. The project was initiated by Lilli Beresin, who herself is visually impaired. She found a freedom in dance and the accompanying attitude towards life which she also wants to make accessible to others.
The Her Abilities Award
Her Abilities is the first global award honouring the achievements of women with disabilities. Light for the World is the founder of the award. With this award, we aim to honour women with disabilities who achieved greatness in their life and field of work. The disability rights activist & Light for the World advisor, Yetnebersh Nigussie, is a key spokesperson for Her Abilities. 

Gesellschaft | Pioniere & Visionen, 23.02.2019

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