Lamaan Sabri Mejlli Launches Group to Advocate for the Disabled in Iraq
November 5, 2012 – Lamaan Sabri Mejlli, a mechanical engineer from Baghdad, recently registered her first civil society organization to advocate for women with disabilities and marginalized women in Iraq. The organization, which she is calling Save the Extraction Prisoner Soul (STEPS), will focus on support female prisoners and women in mental hospitals.
Mejlli’s goals are for female prisoners and mentally ill women in their communities to achieve social acceptance, to help these women develop social skills, and to shed light on the issues these women face. To achieve these goals, Mejlli will hold workshops and seminars, meet with affected women and their families, reach out through publications, and conduct research.
Mejlli, a member of the Arab Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI) since 2009, has been inspired by the women she has met through the Institute, especially those at the October 2012 training in Amman, Jordan which focused on advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities. This training motivated Mejlli to establish STEPS. Mejlli plans to utilize AWLI resources to assist in the monitoring and evaluation efforts of her organization’s programs.
In addition to establishing STEPS, Mejlli is also an advisor for the Deputy Prime Minister for Electric Power. With 20 years of experience as a mechanical engineer and a master’s of science degree in engineering, Mejlli has overseen power plant projects and previously was responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction committee in the office of the General Inspector.
Mejlli also remains active in her political party. She was selected as a member to the General Secretariat and is responsible for the Department of Women Affairs for her party. In 2009, she was awarded the Spokesman of the Party Award for her outreach efforts in the community. In 2010, she was nominated to the post of Assistant Secretary-General of the party. Mejlli also ran as a candidate in the 2009 provincial elections and parliamentary elections in 2010.
In June 2012, Mejlli was one of four AWLI members selected to attend the inaugural session of the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP) Summer Institute at Wellesley College. After attending, Mejlli commented, “The sessions were diverse and rich in topic, with an extraordinary level of quality expert speakers. The methodology behind the summer institute program, which focused on a discussion based platform, was effective for the varied group of women participants who had a lot to learn from each other.”