Alina Azhar has become the first Pakistani woman to receive The Diana Award for her humanitarian efforts.
The 20-year-old philanthropist has been involved in social work since she was 11 years old.
“This the first time that a Pakistani woman has been awarded The Diana Award,” said Azhar on SAMAA TV’s programme Naya Din on Tuesday. She added that she was awarded along with another Pakistani Ahmad Nawaz, who is one of the survivors of the APS Peshawar attack.
“This is the first time that someone from Pakistan was even nominated for the award,” she remarked.
She dedicated her award to her parents and said that she owes her success to them. “My parents have supported me the most,” she said, adding that her mother did all she could to help and support her after her father’s death.
Alina’s work has primarily focused on raising awareness about menstruation among women in Lahore’s Johar Town. She has organised menstruation camps and seminars on sexual assault in areas where over 70% of women face inadequate medical services.
As part of the project Seekh, she has distributed sanitary napkins among the women living in informal settlements. “When you talk about women hygiene, there are a lot of taboos attached to it and people generally don’t support the cause,” said Azhar. She added that people often ask her to stop working on such bold topics.
She has also been working for the rights of minorities such as transgender people. “When you work for transgender people and their rights, people tend to oppose you as they have strong opinions over the matter,” she said.
She added that her teams are starting up a new campaign in which they will conduct free medical checkups for women living in informal settlements of Lahore.
The Diana Award was established in the memory of Princess Diana of Wales. It is awarded to young people aged nine to 25 years for their social or humanitarian work.