Helen Keller Award 2018

Yetnebersh Nigussie receives prestigious award at NYC gala
Photo: Yetnerbersh Nigussie with Helen Keller International CEO Kathy Spahn at the 2018 Helen Keller Award Gala. Credit: Rick Gilbert

In March, Helen Keller International, a global NGO dedicated to saving and improving the sight and lives of the world’s vulnerable, announced Light for the World's Senior Inclusion Advisor Yetnebersh Nigussie as the recipient of The Spirit of Helen Keller Award 2018.  On 2 May, the Award Ceremony at Gotham Hall in New York.  

In her acceptance speech, Yetnebersh drew parallels between Helen Keller and herself, despite the temporal and geographic distances that separate them:

"Helen Keller and I were enlightened at the age of seven through the same lifeline: education. 

As Helen says: “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Well, now’s the time for us all to find that vision. And let’s focus it on how we can get tens of millions of disabled children out from the shadows and into schools where they belong!

Winning this Spirit of Helen Keller award would not have been possible without education -every child deserves an equal chance at education. I pledge to all of you to take on the spirit of Helen Keller today, and to join in this crucial fight.  As Helen once said: 'Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.'"

Kathy Spahn, CEO of Helen Keller International, said:

"Yeti's young life presents striking parallels to Helen Keller’s. Not because they share a disability, but because they share so many amazing abilities.

In Yeti’s beliefs, we recognize Helen’s devotion to serving humanity;
In her life’s work, we recognize Helen’s championing of the rights of people with disabilities, of women and girls;
And in Yeti’s courage, we recognize Helen’s conviction that taking action on behalf of those who are suffering needlessly is our shared responsibility — that, together, we must demonstrate to the world not only what is possible, but what is necessary and already within reach."