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Escaping vengeful brick kiln owners – Syeda Ghulam Fatima

Syeda Ghulam Fatima Syeda Ghulam Fatima is a human rights and labor activist from Pakistan. Her work contributed to the end of bonded labor in brick kilns. She has been dubbed the “Harriet Tubman” of Pakistan. Fatima is currently the General Secretary at Bonded Labour Liberation Front Pakistan (BLLF). Fatima owes her rise to prominence…

Syeda Ghulam Fatima

Syeda Ghulam Fatima is a human rights and labor activist from Pakistan. Her work contributed to the end of bonded labor in brick kilns. She has been dubbed the “Harriet Tubman” of Pakistan. Fatima is currently the General Secretary at Bonded Labour Liberation Front Pakistan (BLLF).

Fatima owes her rise to prominence to Humans of New York photographer, Brandon Stanton. When Brandon came to Pakistan, he met with Fatima and helped her raise $2.3 million for her NGO, BLLF. With the donations, BLLF plans to build a ‘Freedom Centre’ for people freed from bonded labour. A safe haven for those escaping vengeful brick kiln owners. The centre will provide residence for bonded labourers, a health care unit, a community hall, and a school. She became an activist 35 years ago, and since then she has been responsible for freeing 80,000 bonded labourers in Pakistan and helped train more than 600 women in alternative skills as a response to tackling poverty.

For her work, in 2015, Fatima was awarded the Clinton Global Citizen Award for “Leadership in Civil Society” in New York. Fatima was also shortlisted as one of the four finalists for the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity in March 2016. The award is given in the memory of Armenian Genocide, to humanitarians all around the world. In conjunction with the feature in Brandon Stanton’s series on Pakistan, Fatima was also part of a documentary by award-winning journalist, Fazeelat Aslam. The 2014 EMI award-winning VICE documentary about her work.

 

Author: Common Man Initiative