Among the many compelling stories of 2012 have been those of incredible women fighting for rights and opportunities—for themselves and their communities.This year Sajda Mughal, project director at JAN Trust, has been recognised for her work with women and youth from disadvantaged and marginalised communities winning the GG2 Leadership Award for spirit in the community and being highly commended for public service from the Women of the Future Award. Here are just a few examples of other outstanding women.
1. Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is a 15-year-old Pakistani student and education activist. While returning home on a school bus on October 9th 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen. This callous and criminal offense sparked a worldwide movement: “I am Malala.” World leaders and entertainers rallied support for Yousafzai and her efforts to make education a right for all regardless of gender or religion. Yousafzai’s dream was to establish the Malala Education Foundation, which would help poor girls go to school, and it was due to her tireless activism that the Taliban carried out their attempt on her life. Desmond Tutu nominated her for the International Children’s Peace Prize, and she was awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize.
2. Nasrin Sotoudeh
Nasrin Sotoudeh has worked towards reforming Iran to give those who have been disenfranchised basic human rights and dignity. She has given up her freedom in the struggle for basic human rights in a country that systematically denies women their rights. She has stood up against her government even when faced with the prospect of being killed. Her bravery and courage to stand up and fight for what is right has inspired others to do the same; and because of this she is a woman of inspiration to us here at JAN Trust. On 26 October 2012, Sotoudeh was the co-winner of the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament and is widely seen as a beacon of hope not only for Iran, but for women all over the world.
3. Sakena Yacoobi
Sakena Yacoobi is the founder of a remarkable organisation, called the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), which provides education and health services to women across Afghanistan. Since 1996, the organisation’s programs have reached over nine million Afghans. This work has fuelled one of the few areas of real progress in the country since the U.S. invasion: some 2.7 million girls attend school today in Afghanistan.
This year she received the Asia Foundation’s second annual Lotus Leadership Award. She also received an honorary award from the World’s Children’s Prize Foundation, a non-profit in Sweden. Not surprisingly, she has also received multiple of awards over the years for her work in Afghanistan with marginalised Afghan women.
At JAN Trust we aim to empower and provide leadership for women of all cultures and backgrounds. By providing our service users with the right tools, we hope to help them unlock their full potential to becoming the remarkable women of tomorrow. For further information, please visit http://www.jantrust.org