America makes it hard enough for a black woman to succeed at the same rate and pace as other people, and when you add to the mix being born blind and deaf to African immigrants, it would seem that the odds for success become nearly impossible. But Haben Girma beat those odds and then some to become the first deaf-and-blind graduate of Harvard Law School.

Girma was born in Oakland, Calif., in 1988 to an Ethiopian father and a mother who fled Eritrea in 1983 at the height of the country’s independence war, according to a profile on Face2Face Africa.

Blind Student, Deaf Student, Eritrean Student, Haden Girma, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Blind Student, Deaf Student, Eritrean Student, Haden Girma, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Blind Student, Deaf Student, Eritrean Student, Haden Girma, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Blind Student, Deaf Student, Eritrean Student, Haden Girma, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN


Eritrea is a country in the Horn of Africa. With its capital at Asmara, it is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The northeastern and eastern parts of Eritrea have an extensive coastline along the Red Sea. The nation has a total area of approximately 117,600 km2 (45,406 sq mi), and includes the Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands. Its toponym Eritrea is based on the Greek name for the Red Sea (Ἐρυθρὰ Θάλασσα Erythra Thalassa), which was first adopted for Italian Eritrea in 1890.

Eritrea is a multi-ethnic country, with nine recognized ethnic groups in its population of around six million. Most residents speak languages from the Afroasiatic family, either of the Ethiopian Semitic languages or Cushitic branches. Among these communities, the Tigrinya make up about 55% of the population, with the Tigre people constituting around 30% of inhabitants. In addition, there are a number of Nilo-Saharan-speaking Nilotic ethnic minorities. Most people in the territory adhere to Christianity or Islam. (Wikipedia).


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