Saturday, October 13, 2012

Voices of Courage Awards 2013

Voices of Courage Awards 2013
“Refugees and Displaced Persons with Disabilities”

Accepting Nominations for Honorees
Deadline: October 31, 2012

Each year, the Women’s Refugee Commission honors individuals who are working on behalf of refugee, internally displaced, asylum-seeking and resettled women and young people. We are now seeking candidates to be honored at our Voices of Courage Awards luncheon on May 2, 2013.

In 2013, we will honor individuals who are developing or leading programs that benefit and include refugee, internally displaced, asylum-seeking, returnee or resettled people with disabilities.

People living with disabilities are among the most vulnerable and socially excluded of all displaced people. They may be hidden in their shelters, and subsequently not identified in data collection or included in needs assessments by humanitarian agencies. As a result, they are excluded from or unable to access most aid programs because of physical and social barriers, including negative attitudes. They rarely have the opportunity to engage meaningfully in community decisions and are rarely consulted directly on their own needs — with agencies frequently deferring to community leaders, family members or caregivers for even the most personal concerns, like access to reproductive health care or protection from violence. Often, refugees with disabilities are more isolated following their displacement than when they were in their home communities.

The Women’s Refugee Commission is working to advance the rights and dignity of refugees and displaced persons with disabilities through research, advocacy and training initiatives that develop the capacity of humanitarian agencies to ensure non-discrimination and of persons with disabilities to lead full lives and make meaningful contributions to their communities. Our Voices of Courage Awards luncheon will help shine a spotlight on this critical issue and highlight the skills and capacities of persons with disabilities.

The Women’s Refugee Commission wishes to recognize outstanding individuals supporting this often-neglected population. Some examples of projects honorees might be undertaking:

  • Developing and supporting refugees and displaced persons with disabilities to form representative organizations or groups in refugee and displaced communities.
  • Working with communities to protect persons with disabilities from violence in humanitarian settings.
  • Supporting the inclusion of children with disabilities in child protection programs in refugee and displaced contexts, including child friendly spaces, mentorship and peer support.
  • Providing sexual and reproductive health education to young persons with disabilities who are refugees.
  • Bridging the gap between disabled and non-disabled youth in refugee settings.
  • Ensuring access to information and services through innovative approaches, outreach and awareness raising.
  • Your nominee’s project here!

We encourage organizations to nominate persons with disabilities working in their projects, who are positive role models for refugees and displaced persons with disabilities, or making a significant contribution to promoting the rights of this marginalized group.

Two individuals will be selected to receive the Voices of Courage Award. The two 2013 Voices of Courage honorees will each nominate an organization to receive a $5,000 grant from the Women’s Refugee Commission to further their critical work to benefit displaced people in their communities. We will feature descriptions of the honorees’ selected programs in our luncheon journal.

Candidate criteria:
  • Candidates may live in the United States or overseas.
  • Candidates should be individuals who have developed or implemented successful programs that serve people with disabilities who are currently or were previously displaced by conflict or natural disasters, or who are seeking or have been granted asylum.
  • Candidates should be passionate advocates for improving the lives and protecting the rights of refugees, internally displaced people or asylum-seekers with disabilities.
  • Candidates must be able to travel to New York for a week in May (the luncheon is Thursday, May 2, 2013) to accept their award (all travel and housing expenses will be paid).
  • Candidates must be willing to participate in media interviews.
  • The ability to speak English is preferred.

To nominate a candidate for a Voices of Courage award, please send: 1) a letter of nomination that details the program and tells the story of the nominee; 2) the curriculum vitae, résumé or biography of the nominee; and 3) the names and email/phone/fax of three references. If you email your nomination, please include all the information in a single attachment or include it in the body of the email. Include the name of the nominee in the subject of the email. Please do not send any additional materials (photos, etc.) as they will not be considered.

Please email your nomination by October 31, 2012 to You may also fax the nomination to +1.212.551.3180, attention Nicole Rajani, or mail to: Women’s Refugee Commission, Attn: Voices of Courage Nominees, 122 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10168-1289, USA.

PLEASE NOTE: We can only consider nominations that are written in English.

Thank you for your help. For more information on the luncheon, contact us at the above address

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