Gharsanay training during the Young Women’s Leadership Conference in Afghanistan

Celebrated on March 8, 2019, International Women’s Day gives Legacy International the opportunity to share the wonderful work our alumni are doing all over the world. Today, in light of the award she is receiving, we are celebrating Legacy alumna Gharsanay IbnulAmeen.

IbnulAmeen, winner of the annual 2019 Woman of Distinction Award by the United Nations NGO Committee on the Status of Women/NY, is a 22-year-old grassroots organizer from Afghanistan. IbnulAmeen is recognized for her work in women’s education, leadership, and ethnic harmony. IbnulAmeen is also currently a Special Assistant to the President of Afghanistan, H.E. Dr. Ashraf Ghani, who helped her in working to bring over 5000 youth in Afghanistan to the Presidential Palace – where they worked on women’s participation in the peace process, poverty reduction, administrative reform, and so much more.

As co-founder of the Afghan Girls Sustainable Education Project, IbnulAmeen additionally worked in Jalalabad to increase the enrollment and completion rate of girls in school, and particularly in secondary education. She helped facilitate a discussion with the tribal elders of 21 different districts to talk about their roles in supporting women’s education.

IbnulAmeen is the Coordinator of the Young Women’s Leadership Conference for girls aged 14-19, the first such program to exist in Afghanistan’s secondary schools. Participants were assigned to community service programs, action-plan development, activities that help facilitate overcoming ethnic discrimination, as well as other important leadership courses. These successful conferences have been held in the Kabul, Bamyan, Nangarhar, Ghor, Samangan, Deh Sabz district of Kabul, Mazar, Kandahra Farhar, and Heart provinces, with over 1,000 participants – and many of them, rural women. Among the topics covered are needs assessment, community mapping, confidence building, networking, ethnic harmony, peacemaking, and capacity building.

In addition, IbnulAmeen has also organized the first model UN in Afghanistan; and, as Team Ambassador in the Everywoman Everywhere Project, has developed the first international Treaty on Violence Against Women. IbnulAmeen is the co-founder of the Global Youth Development Initiative, in which students are connected to professional and peer mentors from across the world for academic advising and international exposure.

Many awards and scholarships have been bestowed on IbnulAmeen: the Emerging Young Leader’s Award 2017 by the U.S. State Department; the Second-Degree Promotion from the President of Afghanistan, H.E. Dr. Ashraf Ghani; the Responsible Citizen Award by the H.E. First Lady of Afghanistan, Rula Ghani; the Enterprise for Peace Scholarship representing Afghanistan in the One Young World Summit, 2018; and the Generation Change Fellowship – a two-year abroad fellowship by the United States Institute of Peace. IbnulAmeen is a graduate of AUAF with high honors and honor awards and is a finalist for the 2019-2020 Fulbright.

Throughout all her constant efforts to uplift women in Afghanistan, and all the well-deserved achievements result from it, IbnulAmeen has continued Legacy International’s vision of promoting community health, technology, education and leadership; and addressing the work of some of our programs clearly reflects this.

For example, Legacy works to improve and solve health issues like women’s access to information and facilities pertaining to reproductive health in Morocco and Egypt, with projects like the Community Health Initiative (CHI). Because of this initiative, youth like Mary Samir have created programs like her “Because We Are Girls” that raises health awareness and tackles the misinterpretation arising from a lack of discussion about socially taboo subjects in Egypt like STD awareness, sexual abuse, early marriages, personal hygiene, and women’s healthcare rights.

The vast and impactful work of women leaders like IbnulAmeen has shown us that women are not only interested in receiving the economic, social, and health-related opportunities that they deserve; but that they are also willing to personally fight for them, too. IbnulAmeen has proved to us again and again that with the right tools, one person really can make such a profound difference in their community – let alone the world. We at Legacy are so inspired by IbnulAmeen’s example of taking up leadership roles to help uplift all those in our vast, global community, and could not think of a better person to recognize this 2019 International Women’s Day. Congratulations, IbnulAmeen!

Check out the other ways Legacy International works to support gender parity: