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Nigerian disability rights campaigner Rasak Adekoya has won a top award for his pioneering work breaking down barriers that stop people with disabilities from getting jobs.

He was presented with the International Youth Ambassador Award at the One Young World Summit in Munich on 23rd July. The accolades recognise young people whose projects are transforming lives in their communities and helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Rasak works for the international NGO Sightsavers in a project called Inclusion Works in Nigeria, which aims to prevent millions of people with disabilities from finding mainstream jobs. He became blind as an adult and has since worked to use his personal experience to dismantle the barriers facing people with disabilities.

He helps empower jobseekers with disabilities with the relevant skills to find and secure jobs promote disability-inclusive workplaces and campaigns for disability rights.

He said, “I’m so excited to be selected as a One Young World Ambassador. It’s amazing to be recognized along with so many outstanding young people contributing to solving the world’s most complex challenges.

“Ensuring people with disabilities have equal access to livelihoods is a right – not a favour. Every young business leader should understand the business and ethical rationale for disability inclusion and its benefit to their business growth.”

CEO of Sightsavers, Caroline Harper, said of his award: “I was so pleased to hear that Rasak has been selected to be a One Young World ambassador – this is a huge achievement. We are all so proud of him at Sightsavers and the hard work he has done for disability rights in Nigeria and beyond.

“He has inspired so many people to build a better world, as well as making concrete impacts on the lives of people with disabilities, and fully deserves this honour.”

Outside of his role at Sightsavers, Rasak currently serves as the Speaker of the Nigeria Peoples’ Disability Parliament, has authored four books, and co-founded Africa Volunteering Week and 360 Connect Champion – a social enterprise that builds the technological capacity of people with disabilities.

One Young World is a global forum that works to identify, promote and connect the world’s most dynamic and impactful young leaders.

Their annual summit hosts over 1,800 young leaders from more than 190 countries. This year’s summit was held in Munich, Germany from the 22nd to 25th July.

Inclusion Works is part of Inclusive Futures, a partnership of 16 organisations discovering what works – and what doesn’t – to include people with disabilities in global development and humanitarian responses. In seven countries the programme tests inclusive approaches in health, education, work, and tackling stigma and discrimination.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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