A few month back, no one knew who Syeda Ghulam Fatima was until photo blogger Brandon Stanton coordinated with Fatima for the relief of bonded labour in Pakistan. Humans of New York published a remarkable seven-photo series depicting the struggle of the female activist fighting against bonded labour that resulted an international campaign to raise $1.3 million to help end bonded labour in Pakistan.
Today, Pakistani human and labour rights activist Syeda Ghulam Fatima become the first ever Pakistani to be awarded a Clinton Global Citizen Award for “leadership in civil society” in New York. She helped to release more than 80,000 bonded laborers in Pakistan from all provinces since her engagement, and trained more than 600 women in alternative skills for poverty reduction.
“Working for every Pakistani to be the subject of their life, not the object of someone else’s” says Syeda Ghulam Fatima as she receives her first ever award.
She is one of those inspiring role models who aren’t appreciated and applauded in their homeland until a foreign recognition brings them to the mainstream. Sadly, this is the first ever awarded she has been awarded for her contributions to end bonded labor in Pakistan.
Hopefully, this shall enable us to celebrate, honour and cherish our own heroes nationally as well.