Sunday, December 03, 2006

Recognizing Zainab Salbi

The first time I heard of Zainab Salbi was on Oprah's show four or five years ago. She strikes me as an intelligent and passionate woman. It was my first time to see an Iraqi woman on Oprah's show. I hope it won't be the last.

Two years ago, I wrote about Zainab Salbi and Women For Women International on this blog. At the time, I called her one of my favorite Iraqi women, and she still is. While browsing the Internet lately, I came across this nice surprise:

Hilton Humanitarian Prize Goes To Women For Women International
September 12, 2006
  • $1.5 million prize to be used for safe permanent women’s centers.

  • Operates in The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Sudan, Rwanda, Nigeria, Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Founded in 1993 by Zainab Salbi, herself a survivor of war and conflict in Iraq, Women for Women International today works with women survivors of wars and conflicts in nine countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Kosovo, Colombia, Nigeria, Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Picking up where humanitarian aid leaves off, Women for Women International has served more than 70,000 women and distributed approximately $28 million in direct aid and micro-credit loans, assisting 380,000 family members. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., field offices are staffed almost entirely by country nationals.
“Women are the glue that keeps families and communities whole,” she continued. “No society can progress if women are not fully engaged.” Salbi reports that the $1.5 million prize will be used as a challenge gift with the goal of raising $6 million to build permanent safe women’s centers in the countries where the organization has operations. “In this way, women will have a place to go to work, learn about their rights, operate businesses and teach others,” she says.

My favorite Chinese proverb says, "Light a candle instead of cursing the darkness." Zainab definitely knows how to light candles and make a difference in other women's lives.

Last year, she published her memoir, "Between Two Worlds". This year, she published another book, "The Other Side of War: Women's Stories of Survival and Hope."I wish her more success in the years to come. She's an inspiration for all of us.

Between Two Worlds
Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam

The Other Side of War
Women's Stories of Survival and Hope

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