Mu Sochua, our Board member from Cambodia and an inspiring political leader in her country, was one of seven remarkable women from around the world whose life and contribution was honored in a documentary play called Seven.
Produced by the Vital Voices Global Partnership network, the play featured the work of seven award-winning playwrights and premiered in New York last month, to an enthralled audience. Vital Voices is a Global Fund grantee and an international women's nonprofit in Washington, DC, that identifies, trains, and connects emerging women leaders around the world.
The production, featuring seven individual monologues told by seven actresses, is a collaboration between Vital Voices and seven award-winning playwrights, including Anna Deavere Smith, and is directed by OBIE winning director Evan Yionoulis. The playwrights interviewed the women and created a script that resounds with the women's individual voices. The Global Fund is proud to note that Board member Mu Sochua, is among the chosen seven. Currently the secretary general of the Cambodian Sam Rainsy Party, Sochua is the former Minister of Women's Affairs. In 2005, she was co-nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work against sex trafficking of women in Cambodia and neighboring Thailand. Sochua was also profiled in O magazine (Download pdf of the article).
Some of the other remarkable women who were co-featured in this play were:
Hafsat Abiola, Nigeria, an advocate for human rights and democracy following the murder of her activist parents, founded the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, which provides skills-training and leadership opportunities for young women across Nigeria. She now helps build bridges between African and Chinese women, as China increases its engagement in the African continent.
Farida Azizi, Afghanistan, became an activist fighting the marginalization of women under Taliban rule in her native country. Because of threats on her life, she has gained asylum and now lives in the United States with her two children and works on women's rights and peace-building in Afghanistan.
Annabella De Leon, Guatemala, raised herself and her family out of poverty by getting an education. She has been a Congresswoman since 1995 and has received death threats because of her fight against corruption and for the rights of the poor, particularly women and indigenous peoples.
Marina Pisklakova-Parker, Russia: Against tremendous odds in 1993, she founded the first hotline for victims of domestic violence, which has since grown into Center ANNA, part of a coalition that has provided crisis and counseling services for 100,000 Russian women.
Mukhtar Mai, Pakistan: Gang raped by four men and forced to walk home almost naked in retribution for an alleged "honor crime," Ms. Mai and her harrowing story grabbed headlines across the world. Instead of taking the traditional "women's" route of committing suicide, she brought her rapists to justice, built schools to improve the condition of women, and became an advocate for education in her country.
Inez McCormack, Northern Ireland, is an activist for women's and human rights, labor, and social justice and a former President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. She now chairs a program, the Participation and Practice of Rights Project, that helps the disadvantaged access resources and services in Ireland, both North and South.
Learn more about the work of Vital Voices.