Accessible Jordan, Radio Shams, Rubbish Artist of Zarzis and Universal Values


This week, we turn our attention to some wonderful initiatives and leaders in North Africa and the Middle East.

  • Ms Aya Aghabi (pictured above) founded the website page “Accessible Jordan” in 2017 and now has over 33,000 places listed in terms of their accessibility to People with Disabilities.  In her own words, “my hope is that this website encourages the Jordanian government and all business owners to work on the accessibility of spaces to make Jordan inclusive for all people.  I also hope that this website will make it easier for people with disabilities from all around the world to come and visit Jordan.”  You can read more about Aya’s initiative in a piece from Arab Weekly here.


  • Shams Rad is a radio station in Tunisia known as the Arab world’s only LGBT radio station and broadcasts across 15 countries in the region.  Read more about the station in a BBC article here and follow their Facebook page here.


  • Still in Tunisia, Al-Jazeera has a great feature called “The Rubbish Artist of Zarzis” about the remarkable story of Mr Mohsen Lihidheb, a former Post Office worker who has dedicated his life to preserving the Environment and promoting human rights for Refugees, Women and other disadvantaged groups.


  • We also honour and celebrate the life of Mr Raed Fares, former radio host/ Manager (Radio Fresh FM) and activist from Syria who was gunned down on 23 November 2018 in Idlib Province. Read about him here

    ”Take his response to another of the powerful jihadist group, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham/JFS’s demands, to get rid of women news readers – who are also haram, they say. Has he, I ask him, agreed to swap the women for men? “No, I have another solution for that issue. We simply put their voices through a computer software program which makes them sound like men.”

  • Finally, from Yemen. Please take a few minutes to listen to a beautiful Tedx talk by Ms Zuha Al-Hammadi  on Universal Values here … The video is in Arabic – for subtitles in English, please click the cc icon at the bottom right-hand corner of the you tube screen after you have pressed play. Enjoy!



Embracing the Other

I hope you are enjoying 2019 so far. Thank you again for your support over the past few years!

What are we looking at this January?

  • A TED talk by Claudia Gordon on owning and embracing otherness. Claudia, the first deaf black female attorney in the United States, beautifully shares on how we can be more authentic, and at peace with our our self. ‘I resist objectification as the other, I also embrace it…’

Claudia Gordon, a native of Jamaica West Indies, graduated with honors from Howard University in Washington, DC in 1995 and went on to complete law school with honors at American University’s Washington College of Law in 2000. She recounts her childhood in the West Indies, her search for identity while grappling with audism in a hearing college, and her ongoing quest to create spaces in society for seldom-heard voices. Claudia Gordon is a Director of Government and Compliance with Sprint Accessibility.

  • We would also love to share an insightful research by RADAID Research, available here.  The research confronts a major issue; how can we share dignified images and information on the people and communities we work with and still secure funding or gain traction in our advocacy? How can we do better?

Questions to Consider when using Peoples Images

  • Lastly, Rasna Warah confronts white privilege and issue based activism that ignores the political context in her article Visas, Africanists and White Privilege. ‘When poverty, underdevelopment or human rights abuses are depoliticised – i.e. taken out of the realm of politics – they become problems that have technical, not political, solutions’. Read the article here
  • We would love it if you could take a few minutes of your time to complete our Survey HERE . Your feedback is invaluable to help us to improve Embrace Everyone for better impact.  Many thanks!

Women in the Horn of Africa

Greetings and Happy New Year.  For our first post of 2019 we are dedicating some space to the ground-breaking work of SIHA (Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa).

The picture above is taken from an article written by Hala Al-Karib, Regional Director of SIHA, called “the Dangers of NGO-isation of Women’s Rights in Africa“, originally published by Al-Jazeera.

SIHA has for several years been producing a series of short, powerful and educational videos on Gender-related issues, the latest of which is called “Breaking the Silence – Sexual Harassment in Sudan.”  Other videos can also be accessed here.

SIHA also produces the annual journal “Women in Islam“, which explores Gender relations in Muslim communities in the Horn of Africa region and beyond.  The journal is produced in both Arabic and English, and is available both online and in hard copy here.  There is also a Facebook page for the journal.

Finally, SIHA also produces regular newsletters, which can be accessed here, as well as various other publications, including Gender briefings for the various countries in the region where they work, all of which can be accessed here


We would also like to request that you take a few minutes to complete our Readers’ Survey HERE to give us valuable feedback that will help us to improve Embrace Everyone in the future.  Many thanks! 

Thanks for your support in 2018

Asanteni… Murakoze … አመሰግናለሁ … Merci… Obrigado… E dupe… Takk skal du ha…. Na gode… Gracias… Enkosi… Daalu …. Thank you …. धन्यवाद …. شكرا جزيلا …. Danke.. Siyabonga … شکریہ …. Kea Leboga .. Dank ye

This year we have had almost 2,500 views of the blog, giving us an overall total of just over 5,000 since we started in 2015. We have had readers in over 100 countries on all continents and are very proud of the global nature of the blog, whilst our roots are very firmly in Africa. Thank you for being part of the Embrace Everyone family!

Readers Survey

We would like to request you to share some feedback about the blog, which will help us to improve it for the future. You can access the survey here

We love hearing from you! As always, if you have additional comments and/or contributions, please write to us through

Nobel Peace Prize Winners

Earlier this year, we featured Dr. Denis Mukwege from D.R. Congo as one of our Social Inclusion Champions – he was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Nadia Murad from Iraq, who have both worked tirelessly to expose the crimes of Sexual Violence as a weapon of war.

Please read more about both of them, including some embedded videos, in this Guardian piece here and see more in our earlier piece on Dr. Denis here

Finally, some great recommendations for holiday season reading from The Guardian’s Gary Younge in his piece: My Year of Reading African Women

Happy holidays! See you in 2019…..

Human Rights Day 2018 – Highlights

Today on this Human Rights day (10 December) we marked the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The day also marks the end of the 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence.  How are we tracking on all these? And a simpler question, what has impacted you the most during these last 16 days?

We will share a few posts that have resonated with us.

  • An interview by Dr Mercy Korir and persons with vitiligo in Kenya (KTN News). What struck us was how open and vulnerable the young people were in responding to the questions raised, and how society has shown rejection rather than inclusion and acceptance. We can be better, do better.


  • The #In Her Shoes# campaign by HIVOS East Africa on Ending Gender Based Violence. The images were vivid and spoke loudly. Below are two images from the campaign.


  • And last but not least, an inclusion campaign by CBM Australia to mark the International Day of Persons with Disability 2018 with the theme #Dont Underestimate Me#

2018 World AIDS Day and The International Day for Persons with Disability

Over the next few days we will be marking two pivotal days; the World AIDS day today and the International Day for Persons with Disability (IDPWD) on 3 December. These will happen concurrently within the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence that runs from 25 November to 10 December every year.

World AIDS Day:Today marks the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, set to raise awareness about HIV and the HIV epidemic. UNAIDS notes that 940,000 died from AIDS related illness in 2017, despite advances in medical treatment. This  represents a 51 per cent drop from its peak of 1.9 million in 2004.

2018 theme: Know your status

There are currently 36.9 million people living with HIV around the world, 1.8 million of whom are children aged under 15 and another 1.8 million who are newly infected every year.

Of this, 21.7 million are currently accessing antiretroviral therapy which is up by eight million since 2010, an indication of increased awareness and  more proactive testing and treatment.

The International Day of Persons with Disability (IDPWD) is marked annually on 3 December. The theme for 2018 is ‘Empowering Persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’. The focus of the theme is on inclusive, equitable and sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG).

Food for thought on this IDPWD 2018

Finally as we mark these days, the concept of intersectionality comes up.
The Intersectional theory asserts that people are often disadvantaged by multiple sources of oppression: their race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and other identity markers. Intersectionality comes up as we mark these days, because evidence shows that women with disabilities are more vulnerable to gender based abuse and at higher risk of exposure to HIV and AIDS. Persons living with HIV or AIDS are also at risk of disability on a permanent or episodic basis as a result of their condition.

More about intersectionality on this cartoon video below:



16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence 2018

The annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence runs from November 25th (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) until December 10th (Human Rights Day).

The 16 Days Campaign has been running every year since 1991 and you can read more about its history here.

This year’s theme is “End Gender Based Violence in the World of Work”.  An action and advocacy kit can be downloaded here.  It has been produced by the Prevent GBV Network, a network of over 500 organisations across the African continent.

During the 16 Days period, there are a wide range of events taking place globally.  A few examples can be found by clicking on the relevant country – Liberia, Singapore, Malta.

Please spend some time reviewing this excellent and comprehensive infographic on Violence Against Women from UN Women that is also available in French and Spanish, as well as English.