To acknowledge the contributions of women in various fields, Dawood Global Foundation held an award ceremony, LadiesFund Women’s Awards for Pakistan 2019, at the Governor House on Friday evening.
Hundreds of the inspiring women attended the ceremony where people had gathered to celebrate the strength and empowerment of women, and acknowledge their achievements of various categories.
According to a statement, the first lady of Pakistan, Samina Alvi, also sent a special message for the occasion. Sindh Governor Imran Ismail was the chief guest at the event, the media partners of which were Jang and Geo News. The guest of honour was State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Dr Reza Baqir who shared that earlier he worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) where his boss was a female, Christine Lagarde.
The SBP governor said according to a study, 65 per cent of women in South Asia had bank accounts. “Equal opportunities for both men and women for all financial and professional endeavours are essential for sustainable and inclusive economic growth in any country,” he remarked, adding that the central bank of the country recognised the importance of women’s economic empowerment as it was a powerful tool for poverty alleviation.
The winners of the Ladies Fund Lifetime Achievement Award were Ava Cowasjee and Dr Sania Nishtar. Ava has been a prominent name in the shipping industry of Pakistan as from the pre-partition era till 1974, the Cowasjee Group was actively involved in the shipping business, employing hundreds of people. Currently, Ava focuses her time on philanthropic projects.
The other recipient of the lifetime achievement award, Dr Nishtar, currently serves as the special assistant to the prime minister of Pakistan on poverty alleviation and social safety. She chairs the Benazir Income Support Program and the United Nations International Institute for Global Health’s Advisory Committee.
The jury that finalised the slate of nominees for various awards at the event comprised past Ladies Fund winners, including Yasmeen Lari, Ameena Saiyid, Simi Kamal and Noorjehan Bilgramie, who had received the award in 2016, 2012, 2016 and 2015 respectively.
The Ladies Fund Trailblazer Award went to Myra Qureshi, who is the chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Connatural, a pioneer in manufacturing organic and natural skin and hair care products in Pakistan that also exports its own and other labels’ cosmetics.
The Ladies Fund Momentum Award 2019 went to Anis Rashid Khan famed for her elegant styling and finesse. Khan is a pioneer in the event management and has been in the profession for over 30 years. She began her career in sport management and transitioned to volunteering for fundraisers. Today, she is the creative mastermind behind many world-class events in Pakistan.
The Ladies Fund Women of the Year was clinched by Frieha Altaf, the CEO and creative head of her company Catwalk Events and Production who has extensively worked in the fashion and media industry. She has also executed over 3,000 events over 30 years.
Frieha’s forte has been directing, producing shows and celebrity management. She has also tried acting. Voting for the aforesaid three categories was done online and through radio and television, by over 100 million households.
The Ladies Fund Idol Award was bestowed to Sameena Kumari Pirbho from Thar. She is a community worker, who has worked for health, nutrition, hygiene, family planning, child healthcare and education sector. During the 2011 floods, she taught children who had migrated from the affected areas and received an award for being the best teacher from the government of Sindh.
Another accolade, the Ladies Fund Pioneer Award, recognises someone who is among the first ones to have entered some field. This time, the award was presented to a beggar-turned-entrepreneur, Hoor.
In her late 30s. Hoor is the mother of 14 children and leader of the beggar women of Shikar village, whom she convinced to give up begging and start earning their livelihoods with the help of various skills being taught by the Heritage Foundation.
The Ladies Fund Angel Award winner was Uzma Noorani, a social activist with over 30-year experience in furthering the cause of human rights and women’s rights in Pakistan. The Ladies Funds Entrepreneur in the Spotlight Award went to Bushra Imran, the founder of Bi-Crafts [basic to imaginative]. Despite being a gold medalist in medical science, she followed her passion of working in art.
The other women commended at the event included Adeela Suleman, Amra Ali and Meher Afroz in the field of art, Mehreen Noorani and Yasmeen Jiwa in the field of fashion, Zarnak Sidhwa in cooking, Anjaleen Maryam Agrawalla in dance and Nargis Alvi in education.
Dr Abida K Sattar was recognised for her work to create awareness about breast cancer. She is a breast surgeon and the director of breast programme and head of breast surgery at Aga Khan University Hospital.
The Ladies Fund International Fellowship is a programme designed to provide funds to competitive women who travel abroad either for higher studies or international conferences. The fellowship was awarded this year to Tooba Rashid who works at Shell Pakistan.
She will travel to World Business Dialogue, Germany. She was joined on the stage by past international fellows Rabi Khamani, Sonia Khamani, Alina Makhani, as well as British Deputy Head of Mission Mark Rakestraw.
This year’s bachelors scholarship to Iqra University was awarded to Governor House nurse’s daughter, Maica Mary.
Addressing the event, the governor said the Ladies Fund programme strove for financial empowerment of women. He added that most position holders in the varsities are girls, but after marriages, many of them are forced to sit at homes, whereas, boys are given opportunities to excel. Ismail called for supporting position holder girls so that they could advance in their relevant fields.
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