Page last updated at 19:03 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

US honours displaced Sri Lankan Muslim woman

Majeed Jensila
Ms Jensila's organisation has grown significantly since 1992

A Sri Lankan Muslim woman who has been internally displaced in the north of the country for 20 years has won a top award from the US state department.

Majeed Jensila is one of 10 worldwide recipients of the state department's International Women of Courage award for 2010.

She heads a group called the Community Trust Fund, engaged in "activities for the betterment of minority women".

The state department said her focus was on uniting Muslims and Tamils.

The US Embassy in Colombo said that Ms Jensila had worked with young people on minority women's issues including women's rights, peace building, relief work and mine risk education.

Ms Jensila, from Mullaitthivu in Sri Lanka's northern province, told the BBC Tamil service that she had been displaced when Tamil Tiger rebels evicted the entire Muslim community from the area in 1990.

She and others sought refuge in Puttalam, a small fishing town on the north-western coast, where she lives now with her husband and three children.

She started the Community Trust Fund with five people in 1992.

"At the start the task was very difficult," she said.

But she was able to overcome the obstacles with support from her husband and family.

The annual International Women of Courage award was started in March 2007 to recognise women around the globe who have shown courage and leadership in advocating women's rights.

Two women from Afghanistan also won awards this year.

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Times Online Live Aid donations 'were diverted to arm... - 2 hrs ago
Yahoo! UK and Ireland Ethiopia aid diverted for rebel arms in 1980s: BBC - 8 hrs ago
The Hindu TULF for Indian model in Sri Lanka - 8 hrs ago
TelegraphMillions from Ethiopian famine aid used to buy weapons - 14 hrs ago Winston Churchill obituary - 36 hrs ago
* May require registration

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific