Nujood in New York [Archives:2008/1211/Last Page]

November 27 2008
Nujood receiving the Year Award 2008 from Glamour Magazine.
Nujood receiving the Year Award 2008 from Glamour Magazine.
At Khalil Gibran International Academy where she participated in two class sessions.
At Khalil Gibran International Academy where she participated in two class sessions.
Senator Hilary Clinton presenting Nujood with a gift in recognition for her bravery.
Senator Hilary Clinton presenting Nujood with a gift in recognition for her bravery.
By: Yemen Times Staff
“Nujood was like a butterfly fluttering from one place to another, and on the night of the celebration night she was a star. Everyone she met took photos with her, kissed her or asked her for an autograph,” said lawyer Shadha Nasser describing Nujood Ali, the first child bride in Yemen to ask for a divorce, on their trip to New York this month to jointly receive the Women of the Year Award 2008 from Glamour Magazine.

With the exception of her moving to Hajja, a three hours drive north of Sana'a, for her unfortunate marriage to a man three times her senior earlier this year, it was Nujood's first time outside of Sana'a. In New York, she was awarded for her bravery in finding a way out from an unjust marriage, and her lawyer Nasser was awarded for her courageous support to both Nujood and other child victims.

Glamour Magazine, who sponsored the visit, has dedicated money raised through its Women of the Year Fund this year to the Girl's World Communication Center to help child brides and girls at risk for early marriage complete their education and have a brighter future, in tribute to Nujood and Nasser.

During Nujood and Nasser's visit to New York, they visited their sponsors at Glamour Magazine as well as women rights activists and organizations. In receiving the Woman of the Year award, both were honored along with such eminent female figures as Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Nicole Kidman, Jane Goodall and Tyra Banks.

Shadha Nasser says Nujood has changed positively since her return from New York. She believes that the world celebrating Nujood's personal victory and distinguished people encouraging her has made her aspire to become something big in the future.

“I want to complete my education and work in the United States in the future. I want to study law and help children,” Nujood said.

Staying in the USA for ten days has transformed Nujood and made her aware of the potential her future holds. It has also made her realize that she has a low standard of living and that, in order to get out of the depressing environment she was born in, she needs to work very hard and develop herself. Although she missed her mother and sisters, she was worried about returning back to the country that had compromised her childhood.

“I realize that I have a very long way to go, and that I have to change the mentality of my family and those surrounding me in order for me to be able to be something else,” she said.

“I wonder why Nujood wasn't rewarded by her own government. Only the Yemen Times, an independent newspaper, has held two celebrations for her and the other two victims of child marriage Arwa and Reem. Nobody from the government has offered any support for Nujood. They don't even know how she is surviving and whether she is studying or not,” added Nasser, “We received promises for financial support for her from many philanthropists from around the world.”

Both Nasser and Nujood expressed their gratitude for the support and kindness they received from the people they met during their visit, especially to Glamour Magazine for selecting them as honorees of the women of the year 2008 fund.

“I like America and the Glamour Magazine people are very cool,” Nujood said.

Women of the Year Fund

For the past 19 years, Glamour has saluted inspiring, high-achieving women through their Women of the Year Awards. This annual event has had an astonishing impact on politics and society, sometimes even saving lives.

Glamour readers have responded to past Women of the Year honorees by donating to the causes they support, helping in the counseling of former child soldiers in Uganda, a shelter for women in Pakistan and the rehabilitation of former sex slaves in Cambodia.

Through combined efforts and donations, Glamour Magazine hopes change can be made for women everywhere.