A graduate of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Awsaj Academy has used her participation in the second National Forum for Human Rights to encourage the audience to think about how societies can value the potential of people with disabilities.
Speaking at the forum, Mariam al-Ibrahim conveyed a message of resilience, inclusivity, power of self-belief, and the limitless potential within each person. “I've strived to demonstrate that my disability should not be a hindrance to participation and inspiring others with unique abilities,” she said.
“Our presence at such events holds significant importance. It's imperative to focus not on the disability itself but on the individual – granting them the opportunity to speak and express themselves and their experiences."
Al-Ibrahim appealed for recognition of the skills and potential possessed by people with different abilities. She said that her disability should not be viewed as an obstacle. “It is a reminder that my strength goes beyond what meets the eye. I may have physical limitations, but within, I possess the same human spirit and potential as anyone else, ready to serve and contribute to society."
At the forum, al-Ibrahim emphasised the importance of spreading awareness about people with disabilities and stressed on the need to provide opportunities for these individuals. She noted that everyone, regardless of their abilities, possesses ambitions and goals that need support in order to be achieved.
Her journey was not without its challenges, particularly in her early years, when finding an inclusive school was a daunting task. However, her life took a transformative turn when her mother enrolled her in Awsaj Academy at the age of six.
Al-Ibrahim's journey at Awsaj Academy served as proof of her resilience and unwavering self-confidence.
At the forum, al-Ibrahim revealed that Awsaj Academy – which is part of QF’s Pre-University Education – transcends its role as an educational institution, and became where she discovered her inner strength and potential. Her involvement in events like Doha Debates allowed her to champion inclusivity and acceptance, reshaping her disability into a source of strength, and not a limitation.
Al-Ibrahim expressed her appreciation for the school, saying: "I am eternally grateful for this school, which embraces inclusivity and welcomes all without discrimination." She also recognised the invaluable support and guidance provided by her teachers and her mother, both of whom played crucial roles in shaping her journey.
Al-Ibrahim has demonstrated how individuals with disabilities can overcome challenges and make a profound impact on the world. “I consistently encourage my friends with special needs to take pride in who they are, including their disability and everything that defines them. It's these distinctive qualities that make them unique and extraordinary. Doing so can greatly enhance their prospects for success and integration within our community."
QF graduate calls for breaking barriers linked to people with disabilities
*Awsaj Academy alumna Maryam al-Ibrahim stressed that inclusion and acceptance are not just ideals, but paths to empowerment