Sakena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning, is the winner of the 2013 Opus Prize. The Opus Prize honors unsung heroes of any faith tradition with a $1 million award for efforts to solve today's most persistent and pressing global issues, including poverty, illiteracy, hunger, disease, and injustice.
November 13, 2013
Ashoka Fellow Sakena Yacoobi Presented with Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Princeton UniversityJune 6, 2013
From Princeton: Sakena Yacoobi, Doctor of Laws
Sakena Yacoobi is the executive director of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), a women-led nongovernmental organization she founded in 1995. Through a grassroots approach, the organization provides teacher training to women, supports education for girls and boys, and offers health education to women and children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Born in Herat, Afghanistan, Yacoobi came to the United States in the 1970s. After her studies and work in education and health services, she returned to her home country in 1990 and started working with Afghan refugees on the Pakistan border. After the Taliban closed girls' schools in the 1990s, AIL supported 80 underground home schools for 3,000 girls in Afghanistan. The schools and clinics Yacoobi has helped establish emphasize community partnership and self-sufficiency. She is co-founder and vice president of Creating Hope International, a Michigan-based nonprofit that supports humanitarian efforts globally. Yacoobi regularly speaks at forums on education for women and children and is involved in several international organizations. She has received numerous honors for her work, and in 2011 was awarded the National Peace Award by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Yacoobi received her bachelor's degree from the University of the Pacific in 1977 and her master's degree from Loma Linda University in 1981.
With a profound reverence for the well-being of others, this visionary leader devotes her life to the empowerment of poor Afghan women and children. With an unwavering commitment to social justice, against all odds, and often at great personal risk, she built and sustains an institute that makes healthcare and education possible for the most vulnerable. It owes its success in establishing clinics, teaching children, and training educators and caregivers to the deep and lasting ties she has forged with the people she serves and with global communities of care. After decades of work, she is still creating hope, in her home country and throughout the world.
August 16, 2011
Ashoka Kenya Fellow James Nguo's organization, Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), has been awarded the 2011 Access to Learning Award by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. ALIN was recognized for improving the quality of life in rural East Africa through it's Maarifa (Knowledge) Centers.
June 11, 2011
Ashoka UK Fellow Al Harris & his organization Blue Ventures have won the Buckminster Fuller Challenge. They received this honor for their work "integrat[ing] the regeneration of the environment, on which people depend, with the stabilization of population and resources."
June 8, 2011
Bill Drayton, CEO and Founder of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for International Cooperation, Spain's highest honor and Nobel Prize equivalent. Bill was recognized "for his fundamental role in the development of the social entrepreneur as a driver of the social and economic transformation of countries" through his work at Ashoka.
May 19, 2011
Matthias Scheffelmeier, program leader at Ashoka Youth Venture and coordinator of Ashoka Turkey, was awarded the prestigious BMW Foundation Young Leaders Award for his contributions to the “Changemaker City” Initiative. The annual Award recognizes Young Leaders who chart new paths and initiate, develop or support exemplary initiatives for the common good in their professional or private lives.
May 5, 2011
Ashoka USA Fellow Tim Carpentar and his organization EngAGE has been honored by The James Irvine Foundation with the Leadership Award.
The foundation selected Tim for "...changing the way thousands of elderly Californians experience aging by turning affordable senior housing communities into vibrant centers for learning, wellness and creativity."
April 26, 2011
Ashoka USA Fellow Darell Hammond's new book KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play, was the #1 best seller on April 26th and remained in the top 50 for the rest of the month.
KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play illustrates the unstoppable force of a knock-out idea in the hands of a social entrepreneur with a vision and a passion for changing lives.
April 18, 2011
Palestinian Fellow Ola Abú Al Ghaib has received the International Women of Courage Award from the US Consulate after being nominated by President Obama.
Ola was selected for her work with Stars of Hope Society, the organization she founded to raise the voice of women with disability in Palestine and as well in Middle East.
March 8, 2011
Ashoka Pakistan Fellow Ghulam Sughra Solangi is one of 10 extraordinary women to receive the 2011 International Women of Courage Award. Sughra was honored for her work fighting for women’s rights to education in rural Pakistan and greater roles in their society.