WEB DESK: In 2015, Brandon Stanson went on an international tour with the Humans of New York team to cover the stories of people who are left unheard. Iran, Iraq and Pakistan were covered and Pakistan was the first spot.
Brandon Stanson came in search of heroes, the ones who fight the battles, one within themselves and the one around them. The unsung heroes of Pakistan were given the deserved recognition. One of them was Syeda Ghulam Fatima. In a world of slavery in the brick kilns in Pakistan, she stood up to eradicate the concept of slavery all together.
She has been shot, beaten, electrocuted and tortured. Syeda Ghulam Fatima is a Pakistani human and labour rights activist, known for her work in ending bonded labour in brick kilns, and is General Secretary of Lahore-based Bonded Labour Liberation Front Pakistan (BLLF).
She helped to release more than 80,000 bonded laborers in Pakistan from all provinces since her engagement, and trained more than 600 women in alternative skills for poverty reduction. In September 2015, Fatima was awarded a Clinton Global Citizen Award for “leadership in civil society” in New York.
To help her continue her work and activism, the HONY author decided to ask for donations and was responded heavily. Within 12 hours after the post went viral, she was donated more than $1.4 Million, and a lot more after that
“Pakistan faces a lot of challenges, and we want industry to thrive in Pakistan, but the labourers must be free. You cannot make people work by beating and chaining them. I believe that the day the owners understand me, that the day the worker is happy, the profits will be greater. Labour rights need to be regulated, owners have the right to make profit but not through abuse, and deprivation. That is not an industry, that is slavery.
This is a big step for labourers that this has received so much attention, and that their voices have reached a global stage and we are being heard. With this we hope to end bonded labour in Pakistan.”, says a gratitude filled Syeda Fatima Ghulam.
Recently, she has been finalized for the New Prize Created in Memory of Armenian Genocide with other three more finalists. The award winner will be decided by an international committee deliberating on who would receive a new humanitarian award, created in memory of the Armenian genocide, has selected these four as finalists for the annual prize, meant to honor those whose exceptional work to preserve human life in disasters.
The finalists, whose selection will be announced Tuesday, will attend a ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia, on April 24, where the winner will be announced.
“They’re not celebrities — they’re surprised that some people in the outside world even noticed them,” said Vartan Gregorian, the president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a philanthropic foundation. Mr. Gregorian, an American scholar of Armenian descent, leads the selection committee for the award, known as the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity.
The winner receives $100,000 and designates an organization that inspired his or her work to be the beneficiary of $1 million.