Pakistani women’s rights activist from Swat, Tabassum Adnan, has won the prestigious Nelson Mandela – Graça Machel Innovation Award 2016.
The award was publicly announced at a ceremony held in Bogotá, Colombia as part of the International Civil Society Week (ICSW) hosted by CIVICUS in collaboration with the Confederación Colombiana de ONG.
Tabassum Adnan received the award in the Individual activist category.
The Swat native is the founder of Khwendo Jirga, the first ever women-only jirga in Pakistan.
Married at the young age of 13, Tabassum suffered 20 years of physical and mental abuse before she divorced her husband, causing her to lose her children, her home, and money.
Abandoned and impoverished, she started her own NGO, the Khwendo Jirga or Sister’s Council, which meets weekly to address issues of women’s right, including honour-killings, and acid attacks. The jirga also campaigns for causes of local women in Swat, including issues related to women’s security and their voting rights.
In March 2015, she was recognized for her efforts in seeking justice for Pakistani women and was awarded the International Women of Courage award in the US.