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Magdalena Szarota

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Magda Szarota enjoys instigating social change with a variety of means and approaches. She is a disabled woman with invisible impairments, who for the last 15 years has been trying to bridge the worlds of the so-called disabled and non-disabled people. Her day-to-day work takes place at the intersection of grass-root activism, disability studies and human rights advocacy. She has lived and worked in Asia, Europe and the US, and is considered one of the pioneers of the disabled women’s movement in post-socialist Poland.

Magda co-authored the first shadow report to the UN CRPD on the situation of the Polish girls and women with disabilities and successfully advocated on their behalf during the 20th session of the CRPD Committee in Geneva in 2018. She is also an experienced human rights NGO executive, a certified trainer of the Polish Humanitarian Action, a graduate of the Ashoka Foundation Social Innovators Academy, and a member of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Campaign Bootcamp networks.

Magda co-created and has been co-running Humanity in Action Poland (HIA Poland), an award-winning rights education organization of the international Humanity in Action network. She is a Member of the HIA Poland’s Management Board and is the Director of Communication and Public Relations. On top of that she initiates and co-creates educational and activist projects in the framework of the foundation’s activities, including supporting activists within the Humanity in Action network.

She is also a co-founder of the first Polish NGO run by and for women with disabilities and co-creates Article 6 a feminist disability rights collective. Magda is also a Steering Committee member of the Feminist Alliance for Rights run by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership/Rutgers University. She cooperates with Women Enabled International (US) and Sisters of Frida (UK), and received numerous merit-based scholarships, including from Yale University and the Kosciuszko Foundation.

Magda is a dual doctoral candidate at the Polish Academy of Sciences and Lancaster University, UK. She has extensively written about human rights and issues covered by feminist disability studies. She won an award for young activists from Servas International and in 2019, she was awarded the prestigious Ambassador of the UN CRPD title which was handed in by the Polish Ombudsman.

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Updated May 2020

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