(Source Black History):
Being both blind and deaf didn’t stop 25-year old Haben Girma from making history when she graduated from Harvard Law School earning her J.D. in 2013. She is now a global icon that uses her talents to advocate for people with disabilities.
She grew up spending summers with her family in the enchanting Eritrean city of Asmara. There, she discovered courage as she faced off against a bull she couldn’t see, and found in herself an abiding strength as she absorbed her parents’ harrowing experiences during Eritrea’s 33-year war with Ethiopia.
Her family’s refugee story inspired her to embark on a quest for knowledge, traveling the world in search of the secret to belonging. She explored numerous fascinating places, including Mali, where she helped build a school under the scorching Saharan sun. Her many adventures over the years range from the hair-raising to the hilarious.
In her autobiography, Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law, Haben defines disability as an opportunity for innovation. She learned non-visual techniques for everything from dancing salsa to handling an electric saw. She developed a text-to-braille communication system that created an exciting new way to connect with people. Haben pioneered her way through obstacles, graduated from Harvard Law, and now uses her talents to advocate for people with disabilities.
Haben takes readers through a thrilling game of blind hide-and-seek in Louisiana, a treacherous climb up an iceberg in Alaska, and a magical moment with President Obama at The White House. Warm, funny, thoughtful, and uplifting, this captivating memoir is a testament to one woman’s determination to find the keys to connection.
Her accomplishments have awarded her mainstream attention from the likes of President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Chancellor Angela Merkel, and President Obama, who named her a White House Champion of Change. She has also received the Helen Keller Achievement Award and a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.