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Refia Ari

Born: 1961 AD
Currently alive, at 60 years of age.
Nationality: Cypriot
Categories: Social Reformers




1961 – Refia Ari was born on the 3rd February in Paphos of parents Ozkan and Ayten Kamil -bakers.


1984 – She graduated from OTDU as an International Relations graduate and married Engin Ari, a Businessman of the Year -they have two sons, one with Downs Syndrome.


1999 – 2002 – She founded the Association for Children With Disabilities In Need of Special Education with others, upon the failure of a state sponsored discretionary scheme to provide such education for 20 children -none having existed before. Later elected the President of that association renamed Special Needs Education Association, she attended courses and training, fundraised and made available special education for disabled children and support for their parents -despite the inter-communal troubles succeeding also in bringing the Cypriot Turkish parents of disabled children together with a similar Greek group and enlisting support also from the USAID and the UNDP.


2003 – She received the Woman of the Year award of the Women’s Studies and Education Centre of the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU), KKTC -Cyprus.


2006 – Her campaigning succeeded and the Council of State, including her in its committee for the reorganization of education, made laws to provide in ordinary schools education for disabled children up the age of 18 and state support for their parents.


2008 – Refia Ari, was involved also in women’s issues on the position on women in society and, contributing also internationally her paper presented in Naples Club on the role of the Inner Wheel at the conference on the Women for Europe (Comparing Lives and Economic Systems) was on ‘Women’s Role in the Construction of the European Identity Culture and Society’.


2010 – She was instrumental in the introduction of legislation to extend that state help to older disabled persons starting with state-funded mobility homes and adoption of United Nations disability rights.


Her efforts continue, with presidencies of various help organizations, to ensure more rights for the adult disabled and better resources to meet the special needs of disabled children, and the public channel Bayrak Radio-Television (S. Erguclu, ‘Yasamin Icinden’, 2002) praised her as follows:


"Mrs. Refia Ari has created for children… a world that becomes more beautiful every day."