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U.S. Embassy Honors People with Disabilities & Advocates with Triumph Award

In recognition of the International Day of People with Disabilities, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has established the Triumph Award honoring people in the community living with a disability and advocating for the rights of people with disabilities.  U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey presented certificates on December 4, 2011 to the award’s first two honorees, who will be invited to apply for a grant from the embassy to support their work on behalf of the rights of people with disabilities in Iraq.

Speaking at the December 4 event, Ambassador Jeffrey noted, “This is a day to honor stories of personal triumph, to celebrate the significant contributions that people with disabilities have made to their societies, and to salute the activists who are seeking to ensure greater inclusion, fighting to tear down barriers to access, and striving to defeat discrimination wherever it is found.” 

The first recipient of the 2011 Triumph Award was Bikhal Jawdat Ali Ameen, who has served as a role model for people with disabilities while living with paralysis in her legs.  In her role as the Public Relations Manager for the Directorate General of Education’s Comprehensive Learning Program in Suleimaniya, she makes regular school visits, engaging students in activities designed to increase awareness about disabilities and about how students can support classmates with disabilities.
 
The second Triumph Award was presented to the “Integrating People with Disabilities into Society” program of Caritas Iraq.  Since 2005, the “Integrating People” program has served families of children with disabilities by teaching parents and siblings how to administer basic physical and speech therapies and rehabilitation techniques, as well as therapies designed to improve the social integration of children with disabilities.  The program works with families from Baghdad, Kut, Basrah, Erbil, and Ramadi, addressing the needs of all patients without regard to religious, ethnic, or socio-economic background.

The U.S. Embassy promotes the rights of people with disabilities under the auspices of the 2008 Strategic Framework Agreement between Iraq and the United States, which commits both countries to the furtherance of Iraq’s efforts in the field of social welfare and human rights.