Iqbal Masih was born in 1983 in Muridke, a commercial city outside of Lahore in Punjab, Pakistan. At age four, he was sold into bondage by his family. Iqbal’s family borrowed 600 rupees (less than $6.00) from a local employer who owned a carpet weaving business, and in return, Iqbal was required to work as a carpet weaver until the debt was paid off. Every day, he would rise before dawn and make his way along dark country roads to the factory, where he and most of the other children were tightly bound with chains to prevent escape. He would work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with only a 30-minute break, paid 3 cents a day for the loan, but no matter what Iqbal did the loan just got bigger and bigger. Iqbal stood less than 4 feet tall and weighed only 20 kg.
At the age of 10, Iqbal escaped his slavery, after learning that bonded labour was declared illegal by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He was caught by police brought back to Arshad, who told the police to tie him upside down if he tried to escape again. Iqbal escaped a second time and he attended the Bonded Labour Liberation Front (BLLF) School for former child slaves and quickly completed a four year education in only two years. Iqbal helped over 3,000 Pakistani children that were in bonded labour to escape to freedom and made speeches about child labour throughout the world.
When Ehsan met Iqbal the boy was shy and afraid, but Khan realized he had many things to say. He expressed a desire to become a lawyer to better equip him to free bonded labourers, and he began to visit other countries including Sweden and the United States to share his story, encouraging others to join the fight to eradicate child slavery.
In 1994 he received the Reebok Human Rights Award in Boston and in his acceptance speech he said: “I am one of those millions of children who are suffering in Pakistan through bonded labour and child labour, but I am lucky that due to the efforts of Bonded Labour Liberation Front (BLLF), I go out in freedom I am standing in front of you here today. After my freedom, I join BLLF School and I am studying in that school now. For us slave children Ehsan Ullah Khan and BLLF have done the same work that Abraham Lincoln did for the slaves of America. Today, you are free and I am free too.”
Iqbal was fatally shot in Muridke on April 16, 1995, shortly after returning from a trip to the U.S. He was 12 years old at the time. Some say that he was shot by a farmer, some say that he was murdered because of his influence over bonded labour. His funeral was attended by approximately 800 mourners. The Little Hero: One Boy’s Fight for Freedom tells the story of his legacy.
Iqbal’s cause inspired the creation of organizations such as Free The Children, a Canada-based charity and youth movement, and the Iqbal Masih Shaheed Children Foundation, which has started over 20 schools in Pakistan.
Iqbal’s story was depicted in a book entitled Iqbal by Francesco D'Adamo, a fictional story based on true events, from the point of view of a girl named Fatima.
In 1994 he got the Reebok Youth in Action Award.
In 1996 the Movimiento Cultural Cristiano (MCC- Christian Cultural Movement) and Camino Juvenil Solidario (CJS- Youth Solidarity Path) promoted the 16 of April as International Day against Child Slavery in Spain and South America
In 1998 the newly formed Istituto Comprensivo Iqbal Masih, a comprehensive education institute comprising several schools in Trieste, Italy, was named after him.
In 2009 the United States Congress established the annual Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labor.
16 of April 2012 the Council of Santiago, after a proposal of Movimiento Cultural Cristiano, inaugurates a Square named after Iqbal inSantiago de Compostela, Spain.
The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to children’s rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi on grounds of prevention of child labour and female education. Satyarthi mentioned Masih in his Nobel Peace Prize award speech, dedicating it to him and other “martyrs”. Iqbal a courageous boy from Pakistan by Jeanette Winter
A picture of Malala Yousafzai is seen on a blackboard at Yousafzai’s old school, Khushal Girls High School, in Mingora, Pakistan’s Swat Valley October 11, 2014.
Girls attends a class at a government girls’ high school in Mingora, Pakistan’s Swat Valley October 11, 2014. Hours after Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, people in her hometown in Pakistan erupted in joy that a young woman from their conservative society had won global recognition for fighting for women’s right to education. The words on the girl’s cheek read, “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful”.
In 1963, Yuri Kochiyama became friends with radical Nation of Islam activist Malcolm X, who inspired her work on black nationalism. She was famously with Malcolm X at the very end of his life. He was shot by assassins during a speech in New York City on 21 February 1965. Kochiyama rushed towards X’s wounded body and held his head in her lap – a moment famously immortalised in black-and-white photograph (seen in the image above).
In the 1970s, she staged several demonstrations – including the takeover of the Statue of Liberty, to highlight the plight of Puerto Rican independence. She was part of a group who successfully demanded the release of five Puerto Rican nationalists who had been held for over 20 years.
She was also a prominent figure in the Asian American movement that gathered pace after the Vietnam War protests, and mentored scores of young activists in the art of protest.
In the 1980s, together with her husband, she pushed for a formal government apology to the Japanese-American internees and reparations through the Civil Liberties Act. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed it into law and $20,000 was awarded to each Japanese American internment survivor.
She also dedicated time to fighting for the rights of political prisoners and campaigning against nuclear disarmament.
Kochiyama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize during the “1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005”. She passed on June 1, 2014 at the age of 93. RIPOWER.
When my world suddenly changed, my priorities changed too. I had two options. One was to remain silent and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak up, and then be killed. I chose the second one. I decided to speak up.
Malala Yousafzai, in her Nobel Peace Prize Speech, 2014
2014 has arguably been one of the most monumental years for feminism. Social Media has catapulted feminist movements to the forefront, celebrities have launched women’s rights campaigns and female athletes have proved that they can compete in sports alongside men. Here are some of the greatest moments for feminism in 2014: 1. Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize. 2. Emma Watson launched her HeForShe campaign at the United Nations. 3. Marvel Comics created a female Thor. 4. Turkish women laughed in the face of oppression. 5. More companies are offering egg freezing as part of their benefits packages. Read more via The Huffington Post
The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize is shared by Pakistani girls education activist Malala Yousafzai and Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel committee has announced. At 17, Yousafzai is the youngest winner in history.
Photo: Malala Yousafzai. Credit: Susan Walsh / Associated Press
Malala Yousafzai was first known under the pseudonym Gul Makai when in 2009, she, with the help of a BBC radio correspondent, wrote a blog about life for Pakistani females under Taliban rule for the BBC Urdu website. Malala became better known when she starred in the documentary Class Dismissed in Swat Valley, detailing her last days of school before the Taliban ban on girls’ schools. After the Pakistani army intervened, many of the laws enforced by the Taliban were lifted, including the school ban, but the Taliban influence never left. Death threats were later issued against Malala, and on October 9, 2012, she was shot in the head and neck at the age of 15. Malala Yousafzai was given “a second life” when she managed to recover from her critical condition and international outrage gave fire to her cause, sparking the I am Malala movement, which later became the title of her 2013 memoir. Today, Malala is an international activist for children’s education and women, giving talks to policy makers and audiences across the globe. Malala has received many honors for her activist work, including nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 and 2014. Though she is still considered a threat to the Taliban, Malala will never be silenced again.
“Raised with three brothers and a father who were dedicated fans in her cricket-loving country, Saleem loved sports from an early age, watching cricket, soccer and field hockey for hours with her family. She also swam competitively in her youth.
She rolled that love of the game into a career, becoming a sports anchor for national network Geo News, where she became one of the few female sports journalists in the region.
After college, she interviewed for a job as a sports anchor and reporter at Geo English. She told her interviewers that her dream was to cover sports. “They said, ‘Great. Here’s a mike. You start tomorrow!’” she recalls.
She had a little apprehension about getting into sports journalism as a woman in Pakistan: “A woman with a mike and a camera talking about sports? People didn’t accept it at first. They didn’t take me seriously. I got a lot of hate mail on social media, especially being a woman wearing my blazers and Western clothes talking about sports.”
Saleem launched Go Girl Pakistan in February 2014, with hopes of bringing sports clinics to girls across the country. The program has been suspended amid recent violence.
Despite Saleem’s professional success, she couldn’t ignore a large segment of the Pakistani population she felt could benefit from a sport-forward attitude: women.
“Women start working in the home from a very young age instead of hitting the playground,” Saleem says, so they have no idea what they are missing. Those who do play sports find themselves lacking support, venues where they can follow modesty dress codes, properly trained coaches, and other female teammates.
All of that makes the struggle to get and stay in the game that much harder. Saleem says that’s what made her give up on swimming at the age of 11.
But giving up never sat right with her. She felt a need to change that course for her countrywomen, giving them a deeper, more authentic involvement in sporting life. She believed that change needed to start at the family level, with mothers and fathers supporting the idea of daughters kicking, running, jumping and enjoying all facets of sports.
Three weeks after the Peshawar attack, children – some still wearing bandages and wounds – returned to school. They were determined, Saleem says, to not let fear win. She calls this courage the Malala effect. After seeing 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a victim of an attack who went on to win the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, the children are inspired.
“We have thousands of Malalas now,” Saleem says. “And all of them want to continue to learn and move forward.”
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who was attacked by Taliban militants for promoting education for girls, will share the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian campaigner against exploitation of children.
“Showing great personal courage, Kailash Satyarthi, maintaining Gandhi’s tradition, has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain. He has also contributed to the development of important international conventions on children’s rights.
"Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations. This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.”
2014 has been a year in which women have stood up for their rights, challenged stereotypes, fought for recognition and took control of the dialogue. Mic has made a non-exhaustive list of the most iconic moments in feminism that happened over the last twelve months. The top five:
1. Malala Yousafzai accepted the Nobel Peace Prize — and went straight back to chemistry class.
2. Mo'ne Davis made everyone want to “throw like a girl.”
3. Emma Watson stunned the U.N.
4. A survivor, Emma Sulkowicz, brought her mattress — and sparked a national movement.
5. Jennifer Lawrence beat the Internet’s worst trolls at their own game.
Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi win Nobel Peace Prize
NBC News: Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education, and Indian children’s rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi have been awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
Members of the Norwegian Royal Family attended the official ceremony for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. This year’s winner was shared between Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi for their work and activism for children’s rights, in particular with education. In case you missed it, you can watch the entire ceremony here. Satyarthi gave a very moving speech at the ceremony, I suggest you watch it!