Congratulations to all WOE 2018
AWiB proudly presents the 2018 Women of Excellence (WOE) nominees. Every year, since 2012, we celebrate outstanding Ethiopian women who serve their communities and country relentlessly and tirelessly. This year, we bring you 5 phenomenal women who not only achieved greatness but also exhibited excellence in their works. Their full story will be posted on October Focus. Please save the date to celebrate these exceptional women on Sunday 28 October 2018 at a Gala Dinner at Sheraton Addis.
Rahel Shawl: Managing Director and Principal Architect at RAAS Architects Plc.
~ “We need to be proud of who we are, which enables us to know our self-worth. Once we know our self-worth, no one can pull us down and we can get through anything. So, let’s have a sense of peaceful identity”~
Rahel Shawl, a renowned architect not only in Ethiopia but in many parts of the world, has more than 26 years of architectural, interior and landscaping design and supervision experience. Rahel is the Founder and Director of RAAS, one of the leading architectural practices in Ethiopia. She has also co-founded Abba Architects and Equinox Property Developers. Under her leadership, Rahel and her team of 16 at RASS Architects have worked on a wide range of projects including embassies, schools, health centres, and offices, commercial, industrial & residential buildings.
Rahel serves her community as a role model, advisor and mentor for emerging architects and fights for the rights of female architects to be taken seriously as women professionals.
Supporting women is her lifelong agenda. Using her other talent as a jeweller, she has been supporting them through Gemini Trust, an NGO that supports disadvantaged mothers with twins. Rahel uses her talent to empower these less fortunate mothers by giving jewellery making trainings eventually supporting them to have their own jewellery businesses.
Rahel is also featured in TEMSALET Book – Phenomenal Ethiopian Women as Role Models- in2014.
Worknesh Munie: Founder of Kibre Aregawuyan Migbare Senay Direjit (KAMSD)
“My vision is to see that society reveres old age and that elderly people live their final days in dignity”.
Worknesh found a purpose in life and a passion to pursue – restoring dignity to the elderly people. Studies show that there are many senior citizens who are neglected and abandoned in streets and they live by begging. She thought that was very humiliating and dehumanizing. Senior citizens can live in dignity contributing their knowledge and expertise if they have support system that sustains them through their old age she asserts. However, their dire living and social conditions was so dehumanizing that at the age where people would feel respected and celebrated, they are out in streets begging. This prompted her to establish a caring system whereby they live in dignity.
Using her own resource, Worknesh founded KAMSD, a local NGO in 2007. The motto of KAMSD is “Dignity and Better Life to the Elderly!”
Worknesh believes that it requires sacrifice to live one’s passion and fulfil one’s mission in life. But, she also feels privileged to live her passion that makes a difference in the lives of the neglected and considered ‘less contributing’ to the fabric of society.
Worknesh is a pioneer in starting care for the elderly. She used all her networks and connections to fulfil her dream and leading the organization she established by modelling servant leadership.
Kibra Kebede: Founder of Parkinson Patients Support Organization (PPSO)
“I used to think I was the only one with Parkinson but I found out that all those affected by this horrible disease felt the same in their own homes. Now, PPSO is hope and comfort for many”.
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of body’s motor system. It results from a loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. Early signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s are slight and subtle. It is a progressive disease and the symptoms do get worse over time. Parkinson’s can be difficult to diagnose correctly and is sometimes overlooked or inaccurately labelled.
No one in our community knew what Parkinson was and those who somewhat did, thought it was as a result of sin. But as time goes by, the fact that Parkinson did not get enough attention and service to patient, prompted Kibra to change the situation. She quit her business and formed PPSO, an association. Kibra wanted to help while she was still strong enough to work.
In 2011, Kibra formed the “Parkinson Patients Support Organization (PPSO with only 4 members (2 Parkinson’s patients and 2 friends). At the time of registration, PPSO was the 2nd Parkinson association in Africa. To date, there are only 4 on the continent.
Currently, PPSO serves 500 members from age 27 to over 60 years old. Kibra is an embodiment of resilience, determination and a person for justice which keeps her going even under unlikely circumstances.
Worknesh Daba: Founder & Director of “For Development Ethiopia Association”
“If we care for students, they will in turn take care of their country”.
Worknesh had a vision for her country: change and development. Hence, the establishment of an NGO, “For Development Ethiopia Association”. Focus areas of the Association are water, health and education. They dig water wells, shallow wells and work on water hole development. On health, they give trainings, equipment, donate solar refrigerators and ambulance for maternal care. They also work in education by donating materials and creating a hostel for young women. They picked these areas to work on because they are necessary sectors for development. They also work to ensure orphan children get education, pregnant women get proper health care and the community gets fully equipped facilities for their care.
Worknesh feels rage when women are hurt. The girls in the hostel came for different reasons; one girl has escaped a young man who tried to abduct her while others seeking a safe shelter to continue their education. The change Worknesh sees on these girls is the source of her great happiness and satisfaction.
Worknesh is an implementer and she makes sure the work is done with excellence. “I may not be the person to identify the problems or come up with creative solutions to those problems, but whatever I am given, I get it done beautifully” tells about herself.
Keria Ali: Business Woman and Community Leader
“I believe my day to day activity of helping others is a community service.”
Keria is in the sales and distribution business of fast moving consumable goods. Keria believes in giving because she says she was given to give. Although she’s a hardworking, productive and resourceful woman, Keria doesn’t accumulate wealth for herself but rather to use it to help others create wealth and make peoples’ life better. She believes she lives to help others.
Keria’s passion in life is to see women being financially independent. She diligently helps women work and have their own income. She strongly believes that poverty forces women to get involved in undesirable way of life to earn their living and allow others dehumanize them. Therefore, Keria is committed to help young women start business by assisting them financially and mentoring them so they can make decent living. Her stand on educating girls and women is firm so she aspires to support underprivileged students in a more organized way so they can focus on their education without worrying about anything else.
One of Keria’s greatest achievements is enabling a great number of women start their own businesses and make their life better through mentorship.
Keria wants to see a community where girls can walk freely without fear of violence, harassment and sexual assault. She dreams of a country in which women engage in businesses and lead their lives on their own terms.
- #WOE 2018