I got this in an email from Vital Voices and thought I should share it with you. The mission of Vital Voices is to identify, invest in and bring visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. Help them by supporting the Malala Fund so that they could fulfill this brave teenager’s dream of access to education for all. Think of the little girls you will be helping. Think about your daughters and granddaughters and how fortunate they are to be able to graduate from high-school and college and enter into the workforce.
Last month, teenage activist and blogger Malala Yousafzai was targeted for her outspoken advocacy and support for girls’ education. She was shot by the Taliban near her school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, and the world took notice. Hundreds of thousands have voiced their support and sent messages to Malala, who continues to receive critical care on her long road to recovery.
In commemoration of Malala Day — November 10 — championed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown, Vital Voices is launching the Malala Fund on behalf of Malala and her family, working together with supporting advisors and friends of the cause, including the United Nations Foundation and Girl Up, and several other organizations and individuals.
I spoke with Malala’s father this week from her bedside at the hospital in Birmingham. He said Malala is doing well on her long road to recovery, and they feel blessed with the outpouring of support. She’s received cards and messages from girls all over the world thanking her for her courage and for giving them a voice. The Fund will support the education and empowerment of girls in Pakistan and around the world by providing grants to civil society organizations and individuals focused on education. It will be advised by a committee comprising education experts and entrepreneurs, as well as Malala — when she is well enough — and her family.
This is such an important cause and we are proud to do our part to contribute. Today, the right to education is denied to 61 million children of primary school age, including 32 million girls. This is a statistic we have the power to change.
Please raise your voice on behalf of Malala and the millions of girls who struggle to get their voices heard. Support the Malala Fund and together, we will help a teenage girl from Pakistan fulfill her dream of access to education for all.
I wanted to share this email from Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the first Pakistani woman to win an Oscar for her film Saving Face in 2012 and one of TIME Magazine’s most influencial people of the world.
A lot has happened since the Academy Awards in February in LA…I have begun work on a new series of documentary films which are being aired for the first time on TV Channels across Pakistan-
In a unique partnership with Coca-Cola, my production company SOC Films has launched a 6 part documentary series titled “Ho Yaqeen” featuring Pakistanis doing extraordinary things and transforming their communities.
The first episode of the series launched 2 weeks ago: Please do tune in to watch it, links are below:
Please do share these links with friends and family….
In other news, i was very fortunate to have been named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most Influential people in the world- (http://goo.gl/OFVhZ)
This positive reinforcement helps us get the message of our Academy Award winning film Saving Face out.
As more episodes of Ho Yaqeen become available i shall send them out on this mailing list. I am also involved in two more exciting documentary ventures outside of Pakistan which i shall share with you later in the summer….
All my very best
You can check out Sharmeen’s website at: http://sharmeenobaidfilms.com/bio/ I will keep you posted on Sharmeen’s exciting ventures.
I got this email today and wanted to share it with you.
“WOMAN of ACTION: Key to Equity, Justice and Peace “
From Dr. Chen’s work with the Body Shop’s Stop Sex Trafficking campaign, Dr. Sharif’s account of “An Afghan Woman’s Journey”, Dr. Shabnam Nazli, founder of Hope Development Organization now A Celebration House™, Mama Zuma with Rosetta Standard’s organization ZIMELE, talking about sustainable micro business development, Diane Longboat, A Mohawk from Six Nations, Grand River Territory and after all of this, we will be surprising you with a Celebration of our premiere MAN of ACTION – a treat that you will not want to miss ( this gent is a real Gem, and A Celebration of Women will find those Gems inside the matrix of our society) …..
TICKETS $80.00 per person before March 23; $90.00 at the door; Groups of 10 for $500.00Saturday, March 24, 2012 from 9:30am – 5:00pm
Networking 5:00pm -7:00pm
@ The Centre for Women’s Studies in Education (CWSE) in the OISE building at UofT
252 Bloor Street West
Dr. Loretta Chen, PhD
Ambassador to The Body Shop’s Stop Sex Trafficking
Hermes’ PS I Silk You outreach program for underprivileged girls
Evian’s Live Young Campaign
Dr. Sharifa Sharif, PhD
Author – On the Edge of Being: An Afghan Women’s Journey
Cultural Advisor for Afghanistan in Canada
Rosetta Standard and Mama Zuma
Zimele, A program which seeks to develop self-sustainable communities through creating self-help savings groups, microbusinesses, mentorships, and non-profit projects
Kahontakawas is from the Turtle Clan
A Mohawk from Six Nations, Grand River Territory
Traditional Teacher, Ceremonial Leader
Dr. Shabnam Nazli, PhD
Founder, Hope Development Organization now A Celebration House focuses on Women’s Rights in Pakistan
Monika and Graham Burwise
Founder, Global Awakening Institute
and much more…
ORDER Online at www.acelebrationofwomen.org
Tickets $80.00 before March 23rd – Get your tickets now!
A Celebration of Women™ is the FIRST global forum where Women Leaders are being ‘celebrated’ for spearheading positive action. A transformation of the Women’s Movement has begun through our WORLD HUB ~ Wheel of Women Leaders that Care. Through the creation of our alumni WOMEN of ACTION the butterfly effect has begun through local changes resulting in global differences.
Our WOMEN of ACTION are trailblazers in this millennium pioneering the new woman’s movement, “Equality of Women among Women”, working to create a sustainable socio-economic independence for all Women. True to its advocacy mandate, A Celebration of Women™ is the world hub for all NGOs to celebrate their founders, collaborate in their missions and TAKE ACTION.
We haven’t forgot you MEN, our MEN of ACTION aren’t that far behind, we’re actively looking for YOU! Come and join us and meet our FIRST MAN of ACTION. Through our celebration of positive action that is taking place in our world, we attract more women and men to become leaders and TAKE ACTION in their communities.
Are you ready to join us, and become a WOMAN or MAN of ACTION?
MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe, explores the realities and ideas of a new global generation of mothers through art, stories, and powerful new voices. The exhibition aims to turn inspiration into action helping fuel a worldwide movement of advocates for mothers’ human rights and advances in maternal health. Just recently I got an email from them to vote for our favorite community piece. The voting ended February 29. The finalists were very impressive. They were as follows:
- Mother of Mothers, Andre Lambertson & Kwame Dawes (US/Haiti):This visual poem celebrates the strength that many Haitian mothers have displayed in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake.
- Mr. Mom, Zsuzsanna Geller-Varga (Hungary): This documentary follows a family in Hungary where the father stays home as caretaker and the mother is the primary breadwinner.
- Birthmarkings, Margaret Lazarus (US): Margaret Lazarus’ film “BirthMarkings” explores our post birth bodies—and how our self-image—change after giving birth.
- Born in Bangladesh, Chantal Anderson (US/India): This photo essay shows the mothers and children of Bangladesh, where extreme poverty reigns but maternal health has improved in recent years.
- Protective Custody: Within a Prison Nursery, Cheryl Hanna-Truscott (US): This photo series looks at a unique option offered by Washington State, USA to imprisoned mothers and their children.
- Breakdown in the Closet, Humaira Abid (US/Pakistan): Humaira Abid depicts the pain and disappointment that comes along with miscarriage in her intricate wooden sculptures.
Each of these stories represents an important, and unique, aspect of motherhood around the globe. I voted for Birthmarkings because it explores self-image and how our bodies change after we have children. Some women feel self-conscious and unattractive. I never felt unattractive because of my husband. He always made me feel beautiful. My self-image after birth has not changed. My changed body is a reminder for me of how blessed I am to be a mother.
The winner of this competition is Humaira Abid’s Breakdown in the Closet. What a concept. Six wooden hangers in a closet–two of them bare. These two hangers depict the pain and disappointment that comes along with miscarriage—a frequently unspoken part of many women’s experiences of pregnancy and motherhood. The clothes look so real. It’s hard to believe that they are made of wood. We see the mother’s dress and the father’s pants and shirts. This is a family wardrobe. A husband and wife are expecting a child but tragedy strikes. On the floor between the mother’s and the father’s clothes, we notice something that stands out in sharp contrast–the red baby shirt. This is meant to represent the mother’s miscarriage and both parents’ loss.
Humaira explains that this work is a part of a series called “RED” named such because the color red represents love, passion, blood, anger, and loss–all strong emotions. Yes in the subcontinent, red is the traditional color of bridal dresses, and often is associated with love, sexuality, and fertility. Yet in some parts of Africa, red is a color of mourning and death-often associated with the color of blood. She herself suffered from miscarriages so she knows how tough this can take both a physical and emotional toll on women.
As the winner, Humaira Abid receives a US$1,000 prize, with $500 going to the artist and $500 going to a nonprofit charity of her choice! Notes to Women congratulate this amazing artist who uses her work to a very painful experience for women. Unfortunately miscarriage is very common, occurring in about one in five pregnancies. Some women feel a strong sense of guilt, even though it is not their fault. These are natural reactions.
Breakdown in the Closet brilliantly and skillfully addresses a topic that is very difficult for women. Humaira’s work recognized internationally for its originality and excellence has earned her a gold medal. Her work has been exhibited in Malaysia, India, Mauritius, Nepal, Kenya, Dubai, Bolivia, Germany, Russia, UK and USA. Humaira graduated from National College of Arts Lahore, Pakistan with Honors in the year 2000. She majored in Sculpture, with Miniature as her double minor. We salute this internationally renown artist who uses her art to take action against the issue of gender inequality. Brava Humaira.
We are pleased to announce that last month Humaira had her first child. Congratulations, Humaira. We wish mother and baby all the best.
If you are interested in seeing more of Humaira’s art, check out her website at: http://www.humaira.com.pk/
I am from a country and society where showing your emotions and expressing your opinion is not welcomed–especially if you are a woman. Many experiences and roles of women are not properly appreciated. They are simply considered to be their duty or part of life.
I am trying to raise these issues through my work, which counters the stereotypical image of women in a male dominated society. In an environment where women have a considerable way to go to become full partners of men, I want my work to reflect the aspiration for gender equality.
I was thrilled last night when I saw the documentary, Saving Face win the Oscar. It was a proud moment for Canadian Pakistani filmmaker, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy as she made history as Pakistan’s first Oscar winner. Chinoy hopes that this Oscar win will ignite a flourishing film industry in Pakistan.
Saving Face is a documentatry about acid attacks. The film follows London-based Pakistani plastic surgeon, Dr. Mohammad Jawad, as he journeys to Pakistan to perform reconstructive surgery on survivors of acid violence. Saving Face also broaches the subject of the under-reporting of acid violence due to cultural and structural inequalities towards women. The film also features two women attacked by acid and their struggle for justice and healing. The Acid Survivors Foundation of Pakistan, which is featured in the film, had documented over 100 acid attacks a year in Pakistan but estimates far more due to lack of reporting.
Obaid-Chinoy has also stated that the film is “a positive story about Pakistan on two accounts: firstly, it portrays how a Pakistani-British doctor comes to treat them and it also discusses, in great depth, the parliament’s decision to pass a bill on acid violence”. Obaid-Chinoy has also said that the film assisted in the trial and conviction of one of the perpretrators of acid violence on a female victim.
“I am so grateful for the Academy’s recognition of this film and the issues highlighted here. No-one who sees these women could fail to be moved. Each beautiful in their own way, their lives have been destroyed, their faces and bodies disfigured, often by members of their own families,” Jawad said following the film’s success at the 84th Academy Awards. “They are the real heroes here. They have been ostracised from society following the terrible attacks that have been inflicted upon them. I merely try to restore God’s creation, which has been destroyed by such evil acts of human beings, in the best way I know how. I hope that awareness of the cause will help to eradicate this beast of a man-made disease from society,” Jawad said.
Sharmeen Obaid was born in Karachi attended the Karachi Grammar School. She graduated from Smith College with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Government and fromStanford Uni with master’s degrees in International Policy Studies and in Communication.Obaid-Chinoy is an Emmy award winning producer and journalist. She won an Emmy for her documentary, Pakistan: Children of the Taliban in 2010. She is also the first non-American to win the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.
Her career in documentary began when she examined the plight of Afghani refugee children in Pakistan for one of her articles. Their situation was so dire, and their stories so compelling, that Sharmeen decided to return to Pakistan and create a film about them. She petitioned Smith College and New York Times Television production division for the grants that would allow her to accomplish her goals. Intrigued by her story, both organizations gave her the funds as well as production equipment and training. She is currently a faculty member at media sciences department in SZABIST (Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and technology, Karachi). Obaid-Chinoy is also on the board member of The Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP).
Known for documentaries dealing with life in the Muslim world, Obaid became the first non-American to win the Livingston Award. Her films have aired on such networks as Channel 4,CNN, PBS, and Al-Jazeera. She began her career with New York Times Television in 2002 where she produced Terror’s Children, a film about Afghan refugee children, which won her the Overseas Press Club Award, the American Women and Radio and Television Award, and the South Asian Journalist Association Award. Since then, she has produced and reported on more than twelve films around the world.
Obaid produced and reported on four multi-award winning documentary films for New York Times Television. In 2003, Reinventing the Taliban was awarded the Special Jury Award at the BANFF TV festival in Canada, the CINE Golden Eagle Award, the American Women in Radio and Television award, and the Livingston Award. In 2005, her film Women of the Holy Kingdom, which provided an inside look at the women’s movement in Saudi Arabia, won the South Asian Journalist Association Award.
In 2005, Obaid began working with Channel 4 in the United Kingdom reporting on four films for their Unreported World series. Pakistan’s Double Game looked at sectarian violence in Pakistan, City of Guilt explored the Catholic Church’s pro-life movement in the Philippines, The New Apartheid looked into growing xenophobia in South Africa, and Birth of a Nationdelved into the politics of East Timor. In 2007, Obaid was named “journalist of the year” by the One World Media awards for her work in the series.
In 2007, Obaid travelled to Afghanistan and reported for Channel 4 and CNN. Her film, Afghanistan Unveiled/Lifting the Veil, focuses on stalled reconstruction and the repression of women in the country.
Acid throwing (acid attack or vitriolage) is a form of violent assault. It is defined as the act of throwing acid onto the body of a person “with the intention of injuring or disfiguring him or her out of jealousy or revenge”. Perpetrators of these attacks throw acid at their victims, usually at their faces, burning them, and damaging skin tissue, often exposing and sometimes dissolving the bones. The long term consequences of these attacks include blindness and permanent scarring of the face and body. These attacks are most common in Cambodia, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh,Pakistan and other nearby countries. According to Taru Bahl and M.H. Syed, 80% of victims of these acid attacks are female and almost 70% are under 18 years of age.
According to New York Times reporter Nicholas D. Kristof, acid attacks are at an all time high in Pakistan and increasing every year. The Pakistani attacks he describes are typically the work of husbands against their wives who have “dishonored them”.
Obaid-Chinoy’s win has been the cause for celebration in her home country. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani announced that Obaid-Chinoy would be receiving a civil award for her achievements on Monday, according to the Associated Press. She is the first Pakistani to win an Oscar.
She dedicated her Oscar to “all the women in Pakistan working for change. Don’t give up on your dreams. This is for you.”
Saving Face airs March 8 on HBO Canada.
Notes to Women congratulates this remarkable woman whose passion for sharing stories of women and children and their plight has earned her the recognition she deserves. Sharmeen, you made your country and women around the world very proud.
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saving_Face_(documentary); http://ca.news.yahoo.com/canadian-pakistani-filmmaker-nabs-oscar-documentary-short-acid-160219303.html; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharmeen_Obaid-Chinoy; http://sharmeenobaidfilms.com/; http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/27/the-victims-are-the-real-heroes.html; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_throwing; http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/pakistan/120227/saving-face-oscar-winner-sharmeen-obaid-chinoy-ce