Celebrating International Women’s Day’s theme ‘Connecting Girls – Inspiring Future
In order to celebrate International Women’s Day and pay tribute to girls who achieved excellence in various fields, Aurat Foundation organized an awards distribution ceremony on 8th March, 2012 at Hotel Holiday Inn, Islamabad. The awards were distributed among the girls who are role model for us, namely Malala Yousafzai (the peace-maker), Samina Baig (the mountaineer), Shahroo Malik (the artist), Marium Hote Malhar (the social worker) and Sara Nasir (the sports-girl).
Malala Yousafzai (the peace-maker) in her address said that not only the 8th March is the women’s day, but each day is a women’s day for their important role they play in the society. She said that we shall devote the international women’s day to all the brave women like Mohtarma Shaheed Benazir who devoted their lives for socio-political cause. She said that we, the girls and women, do not want much from men but equality with them. She also said that women do not want power so that then they start throwing acids on men. She said that her father has encourage a lot and she had asked her father that no one can touch him as I would protect her. She said that she is happy that with her efforts there is peace in Swat and girls in Swat are no on the ‘road to education’ again. She said that in many times women themselves become enemy to women e.g. in the form of mother-in-law (saas) and daughter-in-law (bahoo), each bahoo become enemy to her bahoo later. Malala Yousafzai belongs to Swat. When there was extreme Talibanisation and militancy in the area, Malala was one of the few who stood up and spoke for children’s rights. She was hardly 11, when she spoke to media for the right of education which was banned by the Taliban.
Shahroo Malik, the artist, in her addressed she said that in the beginning she took fine arts as a hobby but later she came to know that the fine arts can be one of the major source for awareness and social change. She said that the awards has given her more inspiration to work for women’s rights. She won many awards for her excellence in fine arts. In 2005, she won 2nd prize in Japanese Art Competition titled “Remembering peace: 60 years after Nagasaki and Hiroshima”. In 2006, she won a competition run by the Japanese Embassy, which allowed me to visit Japan under the South Asian Student Invitation Program. In 2009, she won 1st prize in Inter- School Calligraphy competition organized by Islamic Relief Center. She also won 3rd prize in poster making competition entitled “Shattered Kashmir: Paradise on Earth”. The painting was then showed in an exhibition in Scotland. She also won 1st position in an Art Competition organized by PNCA. Apart from this she has also been active in my social and political life of my college and was elected as the General Secretary of the Students Council. I have also served first as the General Secretary and then President of the Arts Society.
Sara Nasir (the sports-girl, and Judo Karate Champion) while addressing the gathering said that she was encourage by her parents to learn Judo. Sarah Nasir, (the sports-girl, and Judo Karate Champion), is the only female karateka from Pakistan to have earned a gold medal in karate at a recognized martial arts competition such as the one held at the South Asian Games in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in February, 2010. She is Gold Medal From NPC 2010, a National Champion (Thrice), a student of the Shotokan style, she earned her black belt at the age of eight, Sports Ambassador Pakistan 2010, winner of the First Benazir Bhutto sports women of the year award 2011, and Gold Medal in the -53kg kumite and bronze in kata (SAF games Dhaka 2010).
Marium Hote Malhar (the social worker) in her address said that she belong to Seraiki area where girls have less opportunity in education. She said that how at first she was not offered admission in any school in Islamabad because of not speaking English or coming from poor background. She somehow got admission on her mother’s request, and later her teachers said that I have proved my worth. She is a Head Girl Guide and she along with other guide girls organized a successful campaign to raise awareness on Dingue Virus. She hoped that the government would make efforts to increase girls’ education in Seraiki area.
Samina Baig (the mountaineer) said that she and her elder brother helped her a lot in learning how to climb mountains, and took her with him on many mountaineering trips. She said that and her brother climbed a mountain 6400 feet high, which was never climbed before, and then they named it ‘Equality Mountain’ (Koh-e-Brabari). She said that, “if a girl can climb a mountain can do anything”.
Aurat Foundation also paid tribute to (late) Arfa Karim, the youngest Microsoft Specialist, by observing one minute silence and giving details of her achievements.