Ashoka Fellow Edit Schlaffer – Women for Peace
It was the night of strong women: on November 29th 2017 the look! ‘Woman of the year’ – Gala took place at the Vienna town hall. Our Ashoka Fellow Edit Schlaffer was awarded the Women Peace Award for her social engagement in human rights.
Edit’s organization ‘Women without Borders’ empowers women to take a leading role both in their private and professional lives. She wants to prevent the radicalization of young Muslims and believes that their mothers’ influence is an essential factor. In special courses, mothers are sensitized on the first signs of radicalization. In November 2008 the organization started a new global campaign: SAVE – Sisters Against Violent Extremism – the first female anti-terror platform. SAVE brings women from all over the world together: victims and survivors of acts of terror, activists, teachers, politicians, and peace experts. Together they create a new network, which contributes to a safer world.
The current focus of ‘Women without Borders’ is the ‘Mother Schools’ project. The pilot project ‘Mother Schools against Extremism’ serves the awareness building and sensitization of family members on the danger of radicalization and recruitment. The mother schools have received great international recognition and have been established in Austria, Indonesia, Kashmir, and Zanzibar. This important and sustainable project is co-financed by the Austrian Social Ministry as well as the Ministry for Europe, Integration, and Exterior.
Additionally, the project receives support from Birgit Lauda and her non-profit gallery in Vienna’s first district. The proceeds of the gallery – exempting the artists’ percentage – go to the Birgit Lauda Art Foundation and then directly to ’Women Without Borders’. The art lover with a philanthropic spirit explains:
“I have the biggest respect for women that live in difficult social circumstances and still manage to go their own way and achieve their goals in a surrounding designed to benefit men. The problems stemming out of changes occurring in our world motivated me to establish my gallery as a foundation.”
© Ludwig Schedl
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