A Sri Lankan woman activist for the displaced civilians is among the 10 winners of this year's United States Department of State International Women of Courage (IWOC) award.
Ms. Jansila Majeed, a displaced person herself for 20 years, is one of the winners announced by the U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on Monday. Secretary Clinton will present the awards to the honorees at the Department of State in Washington on March 10.
The annual International Women of Courage Award, started in March 2007 by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, recognizes women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women's rights and advancement.
According to Ms. Majeed's bio published by the State Department, she is the Managing Trustee of Community Trust Fund in Puttalam province which oversees a number of programs on minority and women's issues, including women's rights, peace building, relief work, working with young people, and mine-risk education in the North and East.
Ms. Majeed's own particular focus is on uniting the Muslim and Tamil communities in her province.
"Having lived as an internally displaced person (IDP) for almost 20 years, Ms. Majeed has become an energetic activist for services for displaced Muslim and Tamil civilians, focusing particularly on grassroots programs on life skills, health, and women's empowerment. Her activism began in 1992 with a working group of five people. She overcame both the general neglect of the problem of IDPs in the Muslim minority as well as her own community’s strictures against women activists to build a broad-based organization that works on minority and women’s issues in a highly sensitive and politicized environment," the bio reads.
The other recipients of the award are: Shukria Asil (Afghanistan), Col. Shafiqa Quraishi (Afghanistan), Androula Henriques (Cyprus), Sonia Pierre (Dominican Republic), Shadi Sadr (Iran), Ann Njogu (Kenya), Dr. Lee Ae-ran (Republic of Korea), Sister Marie Claude Naddaf (Syria), and Jestina Mukoko (Zimbabwe).
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