PRAGUE -- On March 21, RFE/RL’s Afghan Service marked this year’s New Year’s holiday Norouz by recognizing children’s advocate Andeisha Farid as its “Person of the Year.”
Farid is the founder of the non-profit organization Afghan Child Education and Care Organization, a network of 12 orphanages in Afghanistan and in refugee camps in Pakistan caring for 700 children of diverse ethnicities and employing nearly 200 people.
“I am really proud to receive this title, but I believe the credit goes to all the volunteers who work with me,” Farid told RFE/RL after receiving news of the award. “This surely encourages us to do more because we see that our effort is being appreciated and valued.”
Herself a refugee who fled to Iran during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, later moving to Pakistan, Farid has contended with interruptions in her own education, and was moved by the plight of homeless Afghan children who struggled to go to school.
About her own experience she said “My education is something personal, and it is not as important as serving the next generation of Afghanistan.”
In addition to receiving the Afghan Service’s award, Farid is the recipient of the 2010 Global Leadership Award of Vital Voices and The Goldman Sachs & Fortune Global Women Leaders Mentoring Award. She has been commended for her work by U.S. President Barak Obama.
RFE/RL’s Afghan Service, known locally as Radio Azadi, selects a “Person of the Year” annually during the spring holiday to honor distinguished individual contributions to peace, democracy, and culture in Afghanistan. It is the culmination of a public nomination process in which listeners of the Service’s programs may participate online.
Previous winners include Ahmad Sarmast, director and founder of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music; former princess Hindia d'Afghanistan; Afghan musician and UN Goodwill Ambassador Farhad Darya; lawmaker Ramzan Bashardost; physician and human rights activist Anarkali Honaryar; Nangarhar province governor Gul Agha Sherzai; and social entrepreneur Ehsanullah Bayat.