Fatima bint Mohamed bin Zayed Initiative wins Arab Woman Awards UAE 2014 in the humanitarian category

ABU DHABI: The Fatima Bint Mohamed bin Zayed Initiative (FBMI) which runs a traditional Afghan carpet production project in Afghanistan to help empower Afghan women, has emerged winner in the humanitarian category of the ‘Arab Woman Awards UAE 2014’ in recognition of its contribution to women’s empowerment in Afghanistan.

Sadaf Safi, Director of Public Relations at FBMI, was presented with the trophy of the award on behalf of the Initiative in a glittering gala dinner at the St Regis Hotel, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi.

Over 400 female VIP guests attended the red carpet event which was held under the patronage of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Culture, Youth, and Community Development. Sixteen inspirational women were celebrated by the ‘Arab Woman Awards UAE 2014’.

Maywand Jabarkhyl, FBMI’s executive director, said that the aim of the initiative is to shed light on the suffering of Afghan women in the current situation in their country, and to provide job opportunities that are in line with the local traditions.

FBMI, which was launched in 2010, is aimed at creating sustainable development by empowering women. The initiative provides women with employment in the carpet production process, an industry they already possess skills in. It also offers them and their families critical social services in healthcare and education. The result is a holistic effort whose benefits are seen not only in fruitful employment, but also in healthier and happier families and communities.

The ground-breaking carpet production and community development programme empowers more than 4,000 female artisans in the production of hand-knotted Afghan carpets.

Jabarkhyl said that over 90% of them are women and 30% of them are widows. The majority engage in spinning and weaving activities from the comfort of their home. Many of them are residents of refugee camps.

Jabarkhyl added that FBMI also provides entire communities in Afghanistan with access to critical social services, including adult vocational training, children’s education and free health care, thus ensuring that all carpets are 100 per cent ethically made.

FBMI s education department works to prevent child labour with a positive focus on facilitating education. All children under the age of 15, boys and girls, must attend full-time education and FBMI supervisors work closely with the schools to ensure attendance. There is a total of 7,032 children currently enrolled. In addition, women receive adult life training in health and hygiene, literacy, numeracy, and vocational subjects, according to the initiative’s website.

The Arab Woman Awards, established in 2009 by ITP Publishing, recognise successful women across a diversity of fields that include business, education, entrepreneurship, charity, media, government, literature and several others. The Arab Woman Awards run annually in the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, KSA and will be launching in Bahrain in 2015.

The Arab Woman Awards UAE 2014 are supported for the 2nd consecutive year by the Abu Dhabi Business Women Council and Pink Caravan.