Cara Elizabeth Yar Khan, born in India and raised in Canada, joined UNICEF in 2007, after working 6 years with the U.N. World Food Program in Ecuador, Dell Inc. in Panama and as a private consultant in China. From UNICEF Angola, she was transferred to UNICEF China to support the Sichuan Earthquake Emergency Operation. This was followed by UNICEF assignments in Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Thailand and most recently, Haiti, where she served as the Resource Mobilization Specialist and Disability Focal Point for two years.
Until the end of 2014 Cara served as a Child Protection Specialist, spending most of her time as a spokesperson and international program adviser to the fund raising and advocacy teams of the US Fund for UNICEF across the USA. Today Cara is the founder of her own company, RISE Consulting Services, which offers private and public sector organizations an array of services from fundraising strategizing, CSR partnership development, disability advocacy to public speaking appearances and speech writing/ coaching.
At the age of 30 Cara was diagnosed with a very rare recessive genetic condition, Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy (HIBM). HIBM is an adult-onset progressive muscle-wasting disease which affects all skeletal muscles, typically leading to incapacity within 10-15 years. There are fewer than 1,000 known patients worldwide and at present, but no approved treatment or cure. Thirteen years after her initial onset, the first fall, Cara now walks with the aid of leg braces and a walker, which she affectionately calls her ‘Lamborghini’.
Cara has an undergraduate degree in International Development from the University of Guelph and a Masters in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). To add to the diversity of her mixed ethic background and international travel to over 35 countries worldwide, Cara speaks Spanish, French, Portuguese and some Mandarin Chinese.