A women’s rights activist from South Sudan has been named one of three winners of an award given by Amnesty International USA, which recognizes women who the group says are “the dignity, freedom and life of women and children in distressed areas.” protect the.”
Riya William Yuyda, Executive Director of Crown the Women-South Sudan, was honored for her commitment to the safety, equality and empowerment of women in South Sudan.
Named after an Italian-American human rights activist who spent years defending women unfairly persecuted by repressive governments, the annual Ginetta Sagan Prize comes with a grant of $20,000.
Amnesty told VOA that Norma Andrade, a human rights defender in Mexico who works with mothers of daughters killed, and Neo Kenya Pav, who helps displaced women and girls in Thai refugee camps, were co-winners.
Yuyada told South Sudan in Focus that she accepted the award on behalf of women and girl activists in South Sudan.
“I am feeling excited, and I must say that this is not only an award for Riya’s outstanding work to fight for women’s rights, but also an award for all those South Sudanese women who work for the better. Working hard. [conditions] And to all the girls and women I work with,” Yueda told VOA.
Crown the Women-South Sudan has mentored 10 schools in Juba to motivate girls to stay focused in school and promote girls’ education.
According to UNICEF, girls are the largest group of out-of-school children in South Sudan. Poverty, child marriage and cultural and religious beliefs hinder girls’ education.
Yuyada’s group also connects older women in South Sudan as mentors with young women struggling to overcome challenges.
Yuyada plans to use some of the $20,000 prize money to build a medical center for survivors of rape and other gender-based violence in South Sudan.
“My dream has always been to have a medical studio or treatment center for survivors of sexual violence, especially rape survivors,” she said. “So, I’ll acquire a piece of land with it and then see what happens next.”
Yuyada said the recognition from the award will pave the way for her to join two other women who have won the Sagan Award.
“We are having three unique this year, so I believe this award will help me tap into the network of the Sagan family… to raise further issues on the human rights of women and girls here in South Sudan and [across] continent,” Yuyada said.