Randa Habelrih - Women Helping Women

 

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Women in Business

Company: Randa Habelrih, Sydney, Australia
Company Description: Randa Habelrih has developed powerful and deeply impacting programs that are proactive rather than a reactive solution to exclusion. Randa's son Richard had a traumaticbith and from that developed autism. His life, through school, has been challenging and lonely, so Randa's mission is to educate the school system and other people about autism. Through her programs, books and talks, people listen.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Women Helping Women – Business

Nomination Title: Helping Mums Of Children With Autism - Through Empowerment

Describe for the judges the nominated individual's activities and accomplishments that provided support and assistance to other women since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

Background

This is the story of ONE woman and her passion and drive to empower people with autism, not from a charity model but one of celebration and inclusion. Starting with understanding.

When Randa’s son Richard was born (21 years ago), there were complications. Overnight she went from being a corporate marketing executive, to a mother of a child with very high needs. Richard has autism and his path through the education system was lonely and isolating.

The day Richard had a pear thrown at him, Randa decided it was time to act. There was so much misinformation and misunderstanding about children with autism, she wanted to help empower these children and their parents.

Most care and education of children with autism falls to women, so Randa is on a mission is to empower mothers to better advocate for their children. Another is by educating the teachers at school about autism; allowing barriers and misunderstandings to be broken down. In 2017, she got focused.

Action

Randa accessed the only tool she knew would reach Richard’s peers – those bullying him and those who weren’t reaching out to him from fear and uncertainty.

Randa created a video – Inclusion For Autism – asking them to be kind (link - supporting documents). The video won 1st prize in a NOVA Focus on Ability Short Film Festival and has been watched by thousands all over the world. It has had a profound impact on mothers and teachers – principals have contacted Randa asking to use the video as a teaching tool - mothers have been replicating the concept to share about their children in their countries.

Next steps

Randa knew she was onto something. Her and Richard’s experiences could be used to empower and educate children, parents, teachers and communities about autism and the importance of social inclusion. She wanted to impact and reach more people.

Book - Randa wrote Dealing With Autism as part of the overall strategy to raise awareness about the exclusion and bullying Richard (and other children) experienced. Randa knew it wasn’t enough to share the story, there needed to be programs that could be implemented in a school setting and a post school setting, where employment and inclusion are even more elusive.

MATES program - created to tap into our innate need to be liked and included. Through speaking to schools, educators, mothers and MeetUps and networking events, Randa shares a message of hope, determination and empowerment. (see supporting docs).

Public speaking – through connections on social media, YouTube videos and word of mouth, Randa speaks at universities to student teachers to educate them about autism. She speaks to parent groups monthly across Australia (mostly mothers), and whole school presentations.

Model MATES – A fashion parade featuring children with autism to empower them and give them confidence to be the focus on attention in an elite setting. Mothers are also empowered through this event to see their child prosper.

Puppet show – For primary school children, featuring Tommy the Turtle (Richard) and Danny the Duck sharing the experiences of Tommy’s exclusion from parties because he’s different. The puppet show is in a format

Provide a brief biography of the nominated individual (up to 125 words):

Randa Habelrih is a speaker, author and social incluson expert.

Randa's corporate experience with big brand companies, her back ground in marketing and lecturing, coupled with her very real corpo­rate experience and autism journey, allows for a unique perspective on demystifying autism and also fostering leadership and empowerment. She is an engaging presenter sharing her insights into the world of autism and also her own story of hope and determination. Randa con­tinually inspires and empowers her audience.

Randa focuses on delivering a message to communities, schools and parents of children with autism and without, that empowerment is more powerful.

Amother-of-two, Randais working to change the way people support children with autism.