Pakistan activist honored with International Women of Courage Award

Pakistan activist honored with International Women of Courage Award

shad BegumIslamabad, March 6 (IANS) After youngest ever nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the scenic Swat valley is again in the limelight on the world scene due to another brave woman from the area — Tabassum Adnan, the founder of an NGO.

In recognition of her service for women’s rights, the US has awarded Adnan the 2015 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award, Dawn reported.

Deputy Secretary Higginbottom presented 10 extraordinary women from 10 countries the award. US First Lady Michelle Obama would join Higginbottom and the award winners as a special guest.

A victim of child marriage, Adnan was married at the age of 13. The marriage and spike with domestic abuse, ended after 20 years when she gathered courage to divorce her husband.

Later she started her NGO, Khwendo Jirga, or Sister’s Council, a women-only Jirga, where women meet weekly to discuss issues such as honor killings, acid attacks, and swara, or giving women as compensation for crimes.

The Jirga launched awareness campaigns on women security, right to vote and offer free legal help to victims of violence.

According to a press release by the US Department of State, “the Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award annually recognises women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk.”

The award was launched in 2007, and since then, 86 women from more than 50 different countries have been honored.

“This year’s recipients reflect women’s roles as agents of change and leaders in many of the crises and challenges facing the world today, from countering violent extremism to promoting security and recovery from the Ebola Virus Disease,” said the press release.

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