30 years after her mother fled the Eritrean War, American-born Haben Girma graduated from Harvard Law School in 2013.
Then she was named a White House Champion of Change, an American working to advance technology, platforms, educational opportunities or spaces to empower other Americans.
Then she became a disability rights lawyer & helped win a major legal victory ensuring that people with disabilities had full access to e-commerce under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
And THEN she was chosen as one of 2016’s Forbes Under 30, that year's brightest young entrepreneurs, breakout talents & change agents.
She’s accomplished incredible things in her 28 years.
Haben Girma is also deaf and blind.
In fact, she's the first deaf-blind graduate of Harvard Law, where she found ways to innovate to succeed. But she knows that it's the legal access & opportunity in America that made her success possible. Her older brother was also born deaf-blind, but in Eritrea, where schools told their mother he simply couldn’t be educated. Haben’s experiences with vastly different countries helped her recognize that her barriers weren’t in her disability, but in the physical, social & digital environments around her.
And that led to a key insight: there are over 1 billion people worldwide with a disability. Making the world accessible for them not only improves their quality of life in infinite ways, but also creates new disability-accommodating technologies that are ultimately beneficial to EVERYONE.
In 2016, Haben quit her law career to pursue advocacy full-time. When she's not advocating, she's a speaker & global consultant for companies like Google & Apple who recognizing the opportunities they have to improve the lives of disabled people and in turn, change the world.