Somali human rights activists nominated for $1m Aurora Awards prize

Ilwad Elman (L) and Fartuun Adan have been nominated for the Aurora Award alongside four other contestants. Photo: Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Handout
Ilwad Elman (L) and Fartuun Adan have been nominated for the Aurora Award alongside four other contestants. Photo: Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Handout

The co-founder of a Mogadishu based human rights centre Fartuun Adan and co-worker Ilwad Elman have been nominated for the humanity prize, Aurora Awards for what the selection committee observed as their exceptional impact, courage and commitment to preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes.

Fartun who is the executive director of Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre (EPHRC) alongside her daughter Ilwad were unveiled Monday by the Aurora Awards selection committee to compete with four other finalists for the $1 million award.

Committee member and co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Vartan Gregorian said the finalists had significantly contributed towards the betterment of humanity by dedicating their efforts to rescuing those in desperate need.

“While geography and circumstances differ for each nominee, it is the similarities that unite them all. Individual human beings risk their own well-being and safety in order to rescue those in desperate need of help, and it is Aurora’s mission to support these saviors,” said Gregorian.

The Aurora Awards, a part of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative was founded in honour of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide during the First World War to award people whose work has had ‘exceptional preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes’.

The winner of the award will walk away with $100,000 grant with a further $1 million for an organisation of their choice in particular that inspired their work.

EPHRC focuses on human rights, peace-building, development, and the rehabilitation of children who have been rescued from militant groups. To date, the center has served over 400 Somali women and girls, offering counselling and medical services, business start-up kits and funds, entrepreneurial skills training, and relocation to a safe place.

Other contestants include Jamila Afghani the founder of Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization, an organisation which champions the education of girls in Afghanistan and Dr. Tom Catena a catholic missionary based in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains who treats victims of war and other diseases.

Twenty six year old dentist Muhammad Darwish based in war torn Syrian town of Madaya attending to a population of 40,000 has also been listed a finalist alongside Dr. Denis Mukwege who with his staff have help care for 50,000 survivors of sexual violence in eastern Congo.

The finalists will be honored at the Aurora Prize Ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia on May 28, 2017 when one will be chosen as the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate, the organisation said in a statement Monday.

 

 

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