Three activists from Pakistan have been awarded an N-peace award by N-Peace network, a multi-country network of peace advocates in Asia working on the advancement of women and peace issues.
The awardees were announced in July this year and were conferred with the honours in an ceremony held in Bangkok, Thailand from October 24 to 26.
Shah Zaman, founder and chairman of Milky Way Movement was honoured in recognition of his work of promoting women’s education in the northern regions of Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral in Pakistan.
In 2010, Zaman initiated his movement with limited resources to promote child rights and education, working as a home tutor in order to pay the school fees of underprivileged children from Thoi, Yasin, a village in Gilgit Baltistan.
Today his movement, named ‘Milky Way’, campaigns for fundraising and is currently supporting over a 100 children with free education in Gilgit- Baltistan and Chitral.
Zaman has also launched a Montessori school ‘Milky Way Academy’ in Thoi where currently 41 children are enrolled free-of-cost.
Another initiative of the young activist includes career counseling for students aspiring to join higher education institutes in and out of Pakistan. The organization has appointed a number of ‘University Ambassadors’ studying across Pakistan and belonging to Chitral and GB. The ambassadors visit their native areas to conduct counseling sessions with the local youth and guide them for applying to colleges and prepare for entry tests.
The second awardee from Pakistan was Rabiah Jamil Beg, a journalist from Geo Television Network.
She has been awarded the N-peace award for being the only woman in the field who courageously took up the life threatening challenge of working as a field correspondent and reporting live from the conflict and crisis struck areas of Baluchistan, Sindh, Southern Punjab along with the tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa.
Rabiah further holds the distinction of being the first female crime reporter on Pakistani television.
The third Pakistani who was honored by the award is an educational reformist, Mona Prakash who attempted to take a significant action for the rising inequalities in the education sector of Pakistan.
Her most significant step has been of opening a school in the remote village of Taluka Jhando Mari in Tando Allahyar province of Pakistan despite the opposition faced by the parents and adult inhabitants of the area. However Mona’s resilience and commitment resulted in her attempt being a success as her school has gathered up to a total of 75 pupils till date.
Mona has further shown multidimensional skills by ensuing the curriculum of the school along with her master’s degree from the Sindh University in Jamshoro.
In addition to her other activities, Mona has participated in a range of leadership development programs and internships with institutions like, the United States State Department, Concern Worldwide, Centre for Peace and Civil Society, Freedom Gate Pakistan and the Fredrich Naumann Stiftung, focusing on women’s rights, leadership and education initiatives.
Mona has further established herself as the vice president of the Future Youth Group Hyderabad chapter which works to promote peace and tolerance in Pakistani society along with promotion of sports.
In Pakistan, Mona has received gratitude by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Habib University in the form of the Meritorious Award for Outstanding Achievement, before she reached the age of 22.
Others honored by the award are Miriam Coronel Ferrer – Philippines, Hajji Khalil – Afghanistan, Wai WAi Nu – Myanmur, Hasina Jalal – Afghanistan, Syarifa Aliyyah Shahib – Indonesia, Mi Khin Khin Kyu – Myanmur and Bimala Kiyadat – Nepal.
Established in 2010, N-Peace is a multi-country network of peace which advocates in Asia and is active in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, the Philippines and Afghanistan. They seek to advance Women, Peace & Security (WPS) issues by supporting women’s leadership for conflict prevention, resolution and peace building. The organization’s mission is to Engage for Peace, Equality, Access, Community and Empowerment.