Asian women receive international Peace Awards for their work building peace
Thavachsri Charles Vijayaratnam’s from Sri Lanka has been named as a recipient of the 2013 N Peace Award for her unceasing efforts to improve the lives of rural communities. She will be among 6 other staunch women’s rights activist who will receive the 2013 N-Peace Awards, a prestigious prize which recognizes the leadership role of women and peace advocates from six conflict-affected countries in Asia.
Eight awardees have been announced by N-Peace Network partners, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Search for Common Ground. The winners include six women who have made dramatic changes towards peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and the Philippines. In addition, this year’s awards honour a youth champion of peace from the Philippines and one male recipient who works to advance peace and equality in post-conflict regions in Indonesia.
Over 90 nominations were received across the N-Peace Awards categories - Role Models for Peace, the lead category, and two special categories, Emerging Peace Champions and Men who advocate for Equality. A wave of online supporters helped to select the leading women peace activists with a record breaking 70,000 votes received for the nominated candidates.
Thavachsri who wears many different hats from serving as secretary of Community-level Women’s Rural Development Society to being president of a women’s group in the northern district of Killinochchi commented “ I have been serving the needs of my community for many years silently and it’s a great honour for me to be nominated and to win this award. This inspires me to continue to provide service to those who are marginalized and vulnerable in our society. Over many years she has helped orphans and disadvantaged children to access education, assisted families with malnourished children to obtain support, and helped communities to obtain essential legal documents like birth certificates, death certificates and land rights documents. By integrating vulnerable and marginalized groups into society, Vijayaratnam paves the way for a peace that benefits all.
Since 2011, the N-Peace Awards have recognized the tireless efforts of peace activists in Asia and male partners for gender equality, harnessing the power of storytelling to generate close to 200,000 supporters of the awards programme. The 2013 Awardees will join the N-Peace Awards Alumni – a celebrated group of peace advocates – following an Awards Ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand, in October.
N-Peace (Engage for Peace, Equality, Access, Community and Empowerment) is a multi-country initiative managed by UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre with UNDP Offices across Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Nepal, Afghanistan and the Philippines, in partnership with Search for Common Ground), the Institute for Inclusive Security and supported by AusAID.