Somali human rights defenders win Aurora humanitarian aid grant
This year’s Aurora Prize winners are Somali human rights defenders, mother and daughter Fartun Adan and Ilwad Elman. The women lead the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center in Somalia. They fight for women’s rights, promote peacekeeping, and rehabilitate child soldiers.
As laureates, they will receive a $1,000,000 grant and the opportunity to pass it along. Fartun Adan and Ilvad Elman decided to split $1,000,000 between three organizations that inspired their humanitarian work – Love Does, the Panzi Foundation and Prajwala. These organizations advocate for freedom and human rights, provide healthcare to vulnerable communities and rescue victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking.
“Fartun Adan and Ilwad Elman embody the spirit of the Aurora Prize and our philosophy of gratitude in action, and we are delighted to be able to express our deepest admiration and appreciation to them for the outstanding work they are doing in Somalia. They give people a second chance and hope for the future and inspire them to live fulfilling lives”, said Vartan Gregorian, president of the New York Carnegie Corporation, co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and member of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee.
This year, the nominees also included
- Congolese activist Angelique Namayka,
- founders of an organization helping refugees Sophie Bo and Klaus Vogel,
- as well as teacher from Afghanistan Sakina Yakubi.
The Aurora Prize was founded as part of the 100 LIVES global initiative dedicated to survivors of the Armenian Genocide. In 1915, more than one and a half million Armenians were killed in Ottoman Turkey, and only a few managed to escape thanks to some brave individuals and humanitarian agencies.
The name “Aurora” has an important meaning. This is the name of one of the survivors. Arshaluis (Aurora) Martikanyan, who miraculously managed to escape, wrote the book “Ravished Armenia” and starred in the title role in the film of the same name. All profits from the screening of the film [$ 30,000,000] were donated to help more than 60,000 Armenian orphans.
The Aurora Prize is awarded on behalf of all survivors of the Armenian Genocide as a token of gratitude to their saviors. After being a victim of a crime against humanity, Armenia urges the world to prevent new tragedies by acknowledging and condemning the past. This is the mission behind the 100 LIVES initiative, made by founders and entrepreneurs Ruben Vardanyan and Noubar Afeyan, as well as Vartan Gregorian.