Fartun Adan and her daughter Ilwad Alman operate Alman Peace,
an organization that helps victims of sexual violence and works to rehabilitate,
and provide job training to child soldiers in Somalia,
the pair also created sister Somalia the first rape crisis center in the country,
to offer protection counseling and medical treatments to victims.
In 2010 when the crisis center began its work,
Somali politicians including the president denied that rape existed in the country.
It was considered a taboo subject to discuss.
The human suffering of women and girls was so tolerated was so normalized,
that it was an open secret in society,
when the group opened a hotline,
where victims could call for help.
Operators received threats of violence.
Our staff were arrested harassed.
Our centers were shut down.
This was just a mere 10 years ago.
There was no profile of what a survivor of sexual violence looked like Somalia,
then from a 70 year old woman to a two-year-old child complete impunity.
Despite those setbacks that crisis center has grown,
to include locally supported facilities in nine regions of Somalia,
the once ignored issue is now being debated in parliament by women lawmakers.
We still have so far to go that we went from a place,
where you couldnt even talk about it,
where there were no services available at all to now having multiple service providers,
where we have from a surge of 11 women and political participation to 24,
in recognition of their work they were awarded the 2020 Aurora prize for awakening humanity,
a 1 million dollar prize given each year to a person or group,
risking their lives to protect people in conflict,
the awards co-founder says the price is a recognition of people doing great work for humanity,
symbol of hope action and transcendence,
transcending boundaries transcending religion transcending ideologies,
but dealing with the basic most decent honest element,
that human beings are one.
Elman peace also runs the drop the gun pick up the pen,
which was a slogan used by Fartun Adens late husband alman ali ahmed,
he was also an activist and was killed near his home in 1996.
The initiative offers counseling services and job training to young people,
who leave armed groups like al-shabab.
When you hear al-shabab, you expect the worst,
but when you stay with them and see how they are playing and learning,
they are just children.
They need a chance for a new life.
In an agreement with the government,
any child who is apprehended or surrenders may be eligible to be transferred,
to one of those elman peace centers within 72 hours.
There ex-fighters can learn skills like cell phone and auto repair.
We want to give them an alternative,
that is peaceful and less fighters means less fighting.
Solomon Voa news Washington