Aug 21, 2020
Don't think of Sara Minkara as a blind person. Think of her as a person who is blind.
Social activist, speaker, and a winner of multiple awards, the founder of the advocacy organization Empowerment for Integration (ETI) has never let used her absence of vision of an excuse or crutch. The slew of honors she's achieved are evidence of her accomplishments. Her awards and fellowships include the Clinton Global Initiative Outstanding Commitment Award, Forbes "30 Under 30" and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology IDEAS Global Challenge Award.
When Sara lost her sight at age seven, her mother had two options. "She has one option of wallowing in our misery and really feeling bad for herself and her kids...But she took the other path and the path of,believing in God's will and saying there is a purpose behind this. "She said 'I'm not going to listen to the outside world of what the world thinks about disability... I'm going to just focus on home and make sure our kids go to school and live a very much -- I'm not gonna say 'normal life' -- but a full life, an integrated life and mainstream life."
As she relates in this podcast, Minkara never set out to become a full-time advocate. "I was a math and econ major. I'm an introvert. So I had a plan of doing a PhD." But as a sophomore at Wesleyan College, she applied for a grant from the Clinton Foundation to run an inclusive summer camp in Tripoli, Lebanon, the home of her parents. "It turned out to be impactful not only for the kids, not only for the parents in the community, but for myself, she said.
In this podcast, Minkara describes the set of circumstances that caused her to found ETI, , how people stigmatize blind people, and how anyone can be an advocate for people with disabilities.