NEW YORK: Labour rights activist Syeda Ghulam Fatima, general secretary of the Bonded Labour Liberation Front Pakistan (BLLF), was on Sunday presented with the Clinton Global Citizen Award 2015 for leadership in civil society.
Fatima rose to prominence earlier this year when photographer Brandon Stanton featured her picture and story on his Humans of New York photo-blog. He later went on to raise over $1.3 million for her organization. On Sunday she was recognised for advocating legal entitlements of the neglected working-class brick kiln workers, as well as female domestic and home-based workers.
She works for the betterment of bonded labour in Pakistan and is known for advocating compliance of International Labour Organisation’s key labour standards in Pakistan. The activist is also a member of the provincial committee for Abolition of Bonded Labour in Punjab and of the District Vigilance Committee in the 12th district of Pakistan.
Along with Fatima, Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi of the UAE and Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote were honoured for leadership in public service. Raj Panjabi, the chief executive officer for Last Mile Health, was given the leadership in humanitarian response award for working on Ebola.
Fatima is not the first Pakistani to win the award. Previously, teenage education activist Malala Yousufzai was honoured in 2013.
The Clinton Global Citizen Awards were established in 2007 to embody former US President Bill Clinton’s call to individuals who exemplify global citizenship and have proven that diverse sectors of society can work together to effect positive and lasting social change.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2015.