NEW YORK, NY—American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading Jewish international development and human rights organization, announced today that Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, founder and president of AJWS grantee and long-term partner Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), was awarded the 2013 Opus Prize, which includes $1 million to support her organization’s work.
AIL was founded in 1995 to address the lack of access to education and health services for Afghan women and girls, their subsequent inability to support themselves and the impact of this lack of education on society and culture. The organization serves 350,000 women and children annually and provides pre-school through university-level education and training opportunities.
“Sakena is an inspiration to women and girls around the world,” said Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS. “In the 14 years that we have supported AIL, I have had the pleasure of meeting Sakena and seeing her work. Whether training women and girls to be teachers, activists and birth attendants or providing education to girls of all ages, Sakena has changed the lives of millions of women and girls throughout Afghanistan. I am so pleased that Sakena was awarded the Opus Prize. It is a well-deserved honor for her.”
Each year, the Opus Prize honors unsung heroes of any faith or background with a $1 million award for efforts to solve today’s most persistent and pressing global issues, including poverty, illiteracy, hunger, disease and injustice. The main prize and awards for the two other finalists are collectively considered one of the largest faith-based humanitarian awards recognizing social innovation in the world.
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