It takes a lot of courage for people with disabilities to defend their rights as equals in the society, and for one to take it upon herself to defend not just her rights, but that of other people dealing with disabilities takes more than courage. It takes a fighter! Hauwa Ojeifo has made it her responsibility to speak up for people with similar challenges as her self and now, she’s getting recognized globally for her selfless works.
Nigerian human rights advocate, Hauwa Ojeifo has been honored by the Human Rights Watch to receive its inaugural Marca Bristo Fellowship, a fellowship that honors emerging activists for their courageous leadership in disability rights.
As part of the fellowship, Ojeifo will receive training on research, advocacy, communication and fundraising from Human Rights Watch colleagues over the course of the next year.
She will also participate with Human Rights Watch in a major advocacy meeting, such as the UN Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in New York, tentatively scheduled for December. And she will travel to Chicago to visit Access Living, a disability rights organization founded by Bristo, where she remained president until her retirement in 2019. On receiving the news, Hauwa had this to say:
This fellowship and my partnership with Human Rights Watch means so much for me, and it’s an incredible opportunity to highlight the intersection between the rights of people with mental health conditions and women’s rights. Women with mental health conditions like myself have something to say and we are being heard. It’s empowering!
“We created this fellowship to honor Marca’s legacy by empowering extraordinary disability rights activists around the world, like Hauwa.” said Shantha Rau Barriga, disability rights director at Human Rights Watch.
28 years old Hauwa was first introduced to the Human Rights Watch in 2018 when she helped the organization with the conduction of a research on the shackling of people with psychosocial disabilities in Nigeria. She was chosen among several candidates who where nominated by staff who have worked closely with Human Rights Watch.
In 2020, Hauwa in conjunction with the Human Rights Watch testified before the Nigerian National Assembly on a draft mental health bill.
Congratulations to Hauwa!
Today, I am honoured to receive the Marca Bristo Fellowship by @hrw for my work as a Disabilities Rights Activist. I am grateful for the opportunity to be honoured in the memory of the disabilities rights trailblazer that is Marca Bristo who passed away on this day last year. pic.twitter.com/RvJVeUUwsr
— The Voice of Mental Health (@hauwa_ojeifo) September 8, 2020
Photo Credit: @hauwa_ojeifo