Haben Girma is one of the most amazing people on earth.Although she’s blind and deaf, she has accomplished more in her life than most could ever hope for.
After her mother escaped from Eritrea and came to the United States as a refugee, Girma was born. She was raised in California, and quickly learned Braille to communicate. It was clear from the beginning that she was incredibly driven and intelligent, and in 2010, she graduated magna cum laude from Lewis & Clark College. But she wasn’t done yet. “A lot of my friends who were ahead of me in college were struggling to find work,” she told WUNC, a public radio station based in North Carolina. “I realized I needed to further my education and a law degree would give me the flexibility to do a variety of things.” She enrolled at Harvard Law, and three years later, she hung her J.D. on the wall.
Now, three years later, she works as a lawyer in Berkley for Disability Rights Advocates. She’s been featured on Forbes 30 under 30, she was the keynote speaker at at the White House Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and BBC named her as a hero.
She kayaks, rock climbs, and dances both swing and salsa. And most recently, she set her sights on surfing. The result? Well, just like anything else she is determined to do, it was a success. After several volunteers pushed her into a couple of waves in La Jolla, Girma found her feet and rode a wave to shore.