For 23-year-old Fatima, it took the death of one child to spark a simple but transformational change, to convince the whole village to start using toilets and improve the health of many young lives.
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SAYED KHEL, Pakistan - "It was seven in the morning, and I had not yet started my working day, when Hafsa* was brought to the clinic with normal labour pains," said Mahbooba, a 27-year-old midwife who runs the Aqtash clinic in Afghanistan's rural Sayed Khel District.
The path to economic empowerment for Afghan women remains riddled with discrimination, violence and unequal access to opportunities. The biggest hurdle in front of them are negative perceptions and stereotypes. A programme by UN Women provides skills training and internship opportunities to young women graduates to kick-start their careers.
KABUL, Afghanistan - For 49 years, a traumatic childbirth injury left Noorjahan living in the shadows. A prolonged, obstructed labour, and lack of emergency maternal health care, left her with an obstetric fistula - a hole in the birth canal that leaks urine or faeces.
BALAKOH, Afghanistan - It was midnight in the remote Afghan village of Balakoh, and 37-year-old Zainab was entering her tenth hour of labour in her mountainside home.
On a cold Saturday afternoon at a packed cultural fair in New Delhi, hundreds of visitors check out stalls selling traditional arts and crafts, clothes, furniture and food.
Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi, who won the prestigious 2015 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award for her extraordinary humanitarian work on behalf of refugees, has been included in the top 10 shortlist for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2016. She has been widely recognised for her brave and tireless dedication to education for Afghan refugee girls in Pakistan - while herself overcoming the struggles of life in exile.
It was after midnight and Bibi Gul* was in critical condition when her husband and eldest daughter brought her to a hospital in Balkh, a province in northern Afghanistan. When the nurses examined her, they discovered that her body was covered in deep purple bruises, and that naswar, a powdered tobacco snuff, had been forced into her vagina.
An upsurge in global conflicts and brutal war tactics continues to make children extremely vulnerable to recruitment and use by armed groups, the United Nations warned today, appealing to the international community to take greater responsibility for the boys and girls used as child soldiers or risk failing to protect them.
As the world continues to witness record numbers forcibly displaced by war and conflict, there are many unsung heroes working tirelessly behind the scenes to help the millions of people caught up in these global crises. The UN Refugee Agency is asking for nominations by February 8th for the 2016 Nansen Refugee Award, to recognise those courageous people who have contributed directly to the refugee cause.