Thomson Reuters Foundation


Fadumo Dayib is risking everything to become Somalia’s first female president.

Fadumo Dayib wants to be Somalia’s first female president — and the stakes are high.

The African country has not only seen decades of civil war, violence and political instability, but was also considered one of the top five most dangerous countries in the world for women.

Somalia’s former women’s minister, Maryan Qasim, agreed. If “asked where is the most dangerous place to be a woman I would have said with certainty Somalia,” Qasim told Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2011. “The most dangerous thing a woman in Somalia can do is to become pregnant.”

Dayib, 43, wants to change all of that — and has the experience to do it.

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Rwanda, 20 Years Later

Twenty years ago this week, the Rwandan genocide began. It’s estimated 800,000 to a million people were killed over 100 days. Most were Tutsi but tens of thousands were moderate Hutu and others caught in the slaughter.

The country today is commemorating by holding a week of mourning alongside a longer 100-day vigil.

The #Rwanda20yrs hashtag on Twitter is an at times sobering, enlightening and inspiring access point to news, resources and personal accounts of the period.

Here’s some of what we’ve been reading through:

Image: Via National Geographic, “A man tries to unlock a cell door at a hospital in Kigali, Rwanda in 1994. As the genocide spread across the country, doctors and staff of the main psychological hospital in Kigali fled or were killed leaving the patients to care for themselves.” Photo by David Guttenfelder. Revisiting the Rwandan Genocide: Origin Stories From The Associated Press. Select to embiggen.
Yazidi girl tells of escape from Islamic State kidnappers
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By Benedetta and Argentieri NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Adeba Shaker arrived at a house in Raabia, Iraq, after being kidnapped by Islamic State militants last month, one of her captors received a phone call. Islamic State militants had trafficked Shaker from her village in the northeast Iraq region of Sinjar to the Syrian border and presented her as a “gift” to fighters on the front line. “When [the militants] left us I panicked, I didn’t know what to do. I saw a bag full of cell phones and I called my brother,” Shaker told Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from a camp for internally displaced people in Iraq.
Source: Reuters

Reports of crimes against women in India increased by 26.7 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year. Now India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh wants to set up special police units across the country to properly investigate and ensure speedy justice for survivors. A third of the officers will be women to help instill confidence and encourage more women to come forward.

Read more via Thomson Reuters Foundation


Albino Children in Tanzania Targeted by Body Part Hunters

Children born with albinism in Tanzania live in constant danger of being attacked by people looking to profit from superstitious beliefs. About one in 20,000 people is born with albinism, lacking pigment in their hair, skin, and eyes. In Tanzania, according to reporting from the Thomson Reuters Foundation, albino body parts are highly valued in witchcraft and can fetch a high price: “Superstition leads many to believe albino children are ghosts who bring bad luck. Some believe the limbs are more potent if the victims scream during amputation, according to a 2013 United Nations report.” Reuters also notes, “The United Nations estimates about 75 albinos have been killed in the east African nation since 2000 and have voiced fears of rising attacks ahead of this year’s election, as politicians seek good luck charms from witch doctors.“ Reuters photographer Carlo Allegri recently documented the lives of several Tanzanian children receiving care in New York after being brutalized in their home country.

Eight years after Nepal’s civil war ended, hundreds of rape survivors still suffer in fear and silence with no access to justice, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports. Activists called on the government to take action to encourage women to come forward and to scrap a legal requirement that rapes be reported within 35 days. 

“Justice and reparations for women who suffered sexual assault is long overdue unfinished business from the civil war,” says HRW South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly.

Read more via Thomson Reuters Foundation.

There is something unique about Columbia’s leading restaurant chain, Crepes & Waffles. Ninety-six percent of the 3,800 people it employs across Latin America are women, many of whom are single mothers and sole breadwinners for their families. Over the years, the chain’s business model has proven to be an effective way of lifting women out of poverty while fighting Colombia’s macho culture. “By giving women jobs you give them economic stability and a better future for their children," says owner Beatriz Fernandez. 

Employees are paid 10 percent higher than the minimum wage and have access to low-interest loans and savings schemes to buy washing machines, homes and cars. The company also runs a free arts center where employees can take yoga and dance classes and workshops on how to keep children away from drugs. "Crepes is a woman’s company that understands what it’s like to be mother,” says Diana Rivadeneira, who started working as a dishwasher and now manages one of the restaurants.

Read more via Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria shocked the world and spurred a global movement to #BringBackOurGirls, but six months have passed and the majority of the girls are still missing.

Nigerians demonstrated in front of President Goodluck Jonathan’s home on Tuesday, urging the government to do more to free the girls. Among them was Rebecca Ishaku, who managed to escape from the clutches of Boko Haram militants. “I want the president to try and bring back my friends,” she said. “I can’t even imagine what’s happening to them.”

Read more via Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Meet Arunachalam Muruganantham, the man who risked everything he had to improve women’s health in rural India. Muruganantham was saddened to learn that most women and girls in his community couldn’t afford sanitary napkins and abandoned their daily routines such as school and work during menstruation. He invented a machine to make low-cost sanitary towels and sold the machines to women-managed self-help groups who now work as manufacturers, sellers and customers.

“To all the women across the globe, do not forget the power god has gifted you with. Take that power and believe in yourself more than anything.” He said. “You [women] are the glue that binds people together; you have the power to bring peace into this world.”

Read more via Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Education activist Malala Yousafzai called on world leaders to give 12 years of free schooling to every child following the ‪#‎WorldEducationForum‬ in South Korea, saying this was critical for girls.

“Every day my sisters all over the world are fighting to take their place in the classroom,” said Malala. “They want to be the best they can be and give back to their communities and the world.”

Read more via Thomson Reuters Foundation