Congratulations Sakena Jan for the Jonathan Mann Award

Posted on 28 June 2010 by

Afghan Crusader for Rights of Girls and Women Receives 2010 Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights


Excerpts from the press release announcing the award

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, a champion of health care and education for Afghan women and children and the founder and executive director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), is the 2010 winner of the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights, established in 1999 to honor Dr. Mann and highlight the vital link between health and human rights.

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi

“Dr. Yacoobi has demonstrated what one woman can do to raise the status of girls and women and unleash their potential in even the most repressive environment,” said Global Health Council President and CEO Jeffrey L. Sturchio. “At considerable personal risk, she has worked relentlessly to provide girls and women with the education and health care they deserve, despite the obstacles in her way. Her work embodies the deep commitment to human rights at the core of the Jonathan Mann Award.”

Dr. Yacoobi’s ability to ally AIL with traditional leadership has been critical to her success, but she also cultivates Afghan women’s leadership. AIL is one of the largest employers of Afghan women and promotes women to management positions: Of AIL’s 480 employees, more than 70 percent are women. Women trained through AIL have moved on to become representatives in the Afghan Assembly and candidates for parliament.

Dr. Yacoobi still lives with bodyguards and a complicated security system, frequently changing cars and travel routes. Every day there is a new death threat. But these are not the stories she tells. Instead, she holds her hands over her heart and her eyes shine when she describes the pride and joy she feels when seeing young women who were educated through AIL now working as doctors, teachers or managers.

Afghan women “come into our programs with nothing and they leave with not only an education and income-generating skills to help provide for their families, but with hope in their hearts and a healing in their souls,” Dr. Yacoobi said. She firmly believes that when the war is over, the Afghan people will be self-sufficient and a people who respect the rights of every person. Her vision is to transform the way that all people regard human rights for women – and for all.”

Download the 2010 Jonathan Mann Award announcement (pdf)

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