Diversity and Inclusion/­Arab Digital Expression

Ranwa Yehia

Risktakers Fellowship - Ranwa-Yehia

In 2005, Ranwa Yehia founded ADEF which has grown to impact thousands of youth across Arab countries. In 2009, my first son was diagnosed with autism. When he became of age to join our summer camps, ADEF was prepared for his inclusion. To quote disability activist Mia Mingus “Understanding disability and ableism is the work of every revolutionary, activist and organizer—of every human being.” Witnessing the problematic claims of inclusion in Egypt and the Arab region, it became my mission to work on impactful inclusion that listens, respects, empowers neurodiverse youth and recognizes their talents.

What will you be working on during the fellowship?

The CAT program currently being undertaken with 6 neurodiverse teenagers will produce a fully vetted, up to date curriculum on digital expression. The program aims to explore both digital and analogue art and technology tools to find what each individual is passionate about, then build their skills to give them the space to be productive. This group will then join our digital expression summer camps in August 2023 where we implement an integration model where those teens join other neurotypical teens in a two-week life-changing experience.

What does being a risktaker mean to you?

A risktaker is someone who endeavors to build innovative programs that will have life changing impact on its target group. A risktaker is someone who is aware of the magnitude of responsibility accompanying such an endeavor and thus builds systems to allow for continuous growth and development of their program with a strong component based on learning and listening and giving space for the people with whom we work and redesigning programs based on such findings. 
A risktaker is someone who is willing to work and move outside an established comfort zone and remold the programs they have created because they envision a future where thousands of people can be impacted. One such example is attempting to build a business model that can eventually allow for such a program to be mainstreamed into society. 
A risktaker is someone who stands for the values they preach and holds the fort even in situations of crises that may force someone to make compromises. 
A risktaker is critical and open to being criticized and to listen to messages, however unclear, that are being expressed.