The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday announced in Geneva that Somalia's humanitarian dedicator, Hawa Aden Mohamed, wins this year's Nansen Refugee Award. "Hawa Aden Mohamed is being given this award in recognition of her exceptional, tireless and inspiring humanitarian work for Somalia's refugee and displaced girls and women," said Melissa Fleming, the chief spokesperson of UNHCR.
Hawa, the founder and director of the Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development (GECPD) in Somalia, herself is a former refugee.
She chose to return to her homeland in 1995, where she launched the education program to assist those uprooted and in particularly transform the lives of thousands of displaced women and girls, who are among the most vulnerable members of Somali society.
In many cases, they are grappling with the trauma of marginalization, abuse and sexual violence, including rape. She created spaces where they can find safety, opportunity and be protected and sheltered.
Her work stems from a belief that education lies at the root of everything, especially for girls. The center provides secondary education as well as vocational training, so that women and girls can make a living on their own, and themselves influence their future and their own role in Somali society.
Since its establishment in 1999, the GECPD with Hawa at its helm has assisted more than 215,000 people.
The Nansen Refugee Award was created in 1954 in honor of Fridtjof Nansen, the first High Commissioner for Refugees in the League of Nations period. To date, it has awarded 68 Nansen Medals to individuals, groups or organizations for their outstanding work on behalf of refugees.