Chaudhary was born in Manpur in the Terai Plains of southwestern Nepal. Her parents were Kamaiya, bonded laborers, as are many landless farmers from the ethnic group of the Tharu. Chaudhary and all of the women in her family—her mother, grandmother, aunt, and sisters—worked as slaves under the kamalari system.
As soon as she gained freedom, Chaudhary decided she had to fight for the many girls who still live in slavery under kamalari.
In December 2007, she was elected the first president of the Common Forum for Kamalari Freedom (CFKF), an organization founded by women and girls to fight for their rights.
Marusia Lopez Cruz and Daysi Yamileth Flores Hernandez
(the two women work as a team)
Lopez Cruz is a Mexican feminist with eighteen years of experience in national and international human rights, development and pro-democracy organizations.
Hernandez grew up in a barrio in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She has been a feminist since she was 15 years old, co-founded the Red de Mujeres Jóvenes de Honduras (Young Women’s Network of Honduras) in 1998, and now identifies as an eco-feminist.
Farid is the founder and Executive Director of Afghan Child Education and Caring Organization, AFCECO (www.afceco.org). She was born in 1983 in Afghanistan, on the day when the former Soviet jets ruined her village in to rubbles and forced the entire community to leave their homeland and take refuge in Iran.
In 2002, Farid moved to Islamabad to continue her education at the university level and there she began working with a local Afghan community, first as a teacher, and later as administrator and spokesperson of an Afghan school.
While she was only 24 she started a new non-profit, the Afghan Child Education and Care Organization (AFCECO). Today, AFCECO runs 11 orphanages in Afghanistan and refugee camps in Pakistan with 600 children of diverse ethnicities and has employed nearly 200 people who are mostly widows and university students.
Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
A fierce Nigerian social entrepreneur, women’s rights activist, community leader, and poet, Olutosin is a passionate global advocate to empower rural women and girls and end sexual violence of all forms.
She has founded an on-the-ground organization called STAR OF HOPE TRANSFORMATION CENTRE which empowers local communities to end child sexual abuse and heal survivors. She has also launched income generating projects for more than 200 women. She also initiated a mentorship programme for girls living on the riverside in Lagos.
Shabnam joined Mira Nair’s Salaam Balak, where she befriended runaways at Delhi station. A senior journalist, Jugnu Ramaswamy, approached her with the intention of making a film on her work. He not only made the film, but married her too. The Ramaswamys set up a school for street kids in Delhi, called Jagriti. After the school was demolished by the Delhi government, they headed to Katna in West Bengal, where they decided to set up a state-of-the-art school with the same name for rural kids. In 2005, just before the school began, Jugnu died of a heart attack, leaving Shabnam to run it single-handedly. Today, the school boasts several school rooms, workshops, and hostels for 500 students, teachers and staff.
Sylvia Estrada Claudio
Dr. Sylvia Estrada-Claudio is a doctor of medicine who also holds a PhD in Psychology. She is Director of the University of the Philippines Center for Women’s Studies and Professor of the Department of Women and Development Studies, College of Social Work and Community Development, University of the Philippines. She teaches Feminist Theories and Movements, Feminist Research Methods and Gender Culture and Ideology.