The Stevie Awards Blog

Ideas Worth Spreading: Stevie Award Winner’s TEDx Presentation Outlines Why and How She is Improving the Lives of Women and Minorities

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Jan 06, 2016 @ 02:29 PM

I Change Her Life, a social business enterprise that is creating phenomenal changes in the lives of women in conflict-ridden regions of Pakistan and among the refugees in Turkey, won the Stevie Award for Community Involvement Program of the Year in the Company/Organization Awards categories of the 2015 Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

Dr. Ambreen Zaman Riaz, the founder of I Change Her Life, was in New York for the gala awards presentations at the Marriott Marquis on November 13, 2015. Just before the presentation, however, she gave a talk at TEDxKinnaird, Lahore, Pakistan, outlining her beliefs and motivations.   She has shared the official link to this presentation with us, and you can view it at:

1512Change.gifhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYb2TtEmSdc

The objective of I Change Her Life is to create positive change in the lives of disadvantaged women by employing and training them. The induction program has been updated over the past year to include a breakthrough “Life Coach” training manual that helps women overcome their suffering and enables them to become productive contributors to their communities.

In Pakistan, the outreach and visibility of I Change Her Life increased tremendously thanks to a collaboration with local non-profits and sister organizations. As a result of relentless efforts to improve the socio-economic conditions of vulnerable and weak women, the organization was able to increase the scope of positive social impact from 20 to 85,849 women in Pakistan.

Dr. Ambreen Zaman Riaz, the founder of I Change Her Life, tells us that this expansion was the direct result of collaboration with many organizations already working in the region such as Nida Pakistan, Blue Veins, and Sawera Pakistan.

“We are also in the process of initiating a joint program with the prestigious Agha Khan Foundation to work alongside their organization CIQAM to increase the scope of social impact,” added Dr. Zaman.   “In Pakistan, we have increased our presence and visibility, and managed to penetrate into the heart of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) region in the Northwest, by establishing close ties and creating relationships based on mutual trust and a strong belief in the process of positive social change.”  

Continued Dr. Zaman: “In Turkey, we have formed key alliances with Women Entrepreneurship group Kadiger Turkey, and with Macka and Flying Bloom. The vision and goals of these organizations are closely aligned with our own values and beliefs.”  

I Change Her Life is using these platforms to fight against gender violence in Pakistan. “We are actively involved in the process of drafting a legislature to modify the bill against honor killings and Sharia law in Pakistan that demeans the status of women in society and constricts their rights and civil liberties,” Dr. Zaman told us. “We are now actively involved in the process of social and legal change to create a positive atmosphere for women to flourish. Through our cooperation with WEF (Women Empowerment Forum) in Pakistan, we have been able to bring about subtle changes in the network of Pakistani society and institutions. The subject of gender violence is our priority, but it must be handled very delicately so as to not offend certain segments of society.”

“We have learned to create small but meaningful changes through our workshops, to create awareness against gender violence, and to focus on gender development,” concluded Dr. Zaman. “Our unique approach has helped us win over critics as well as conservative members of the institutions that we want to change. This is an unprecedented accomplishment: most other organizations have failed because they could not negotiate and ended up being attacked or abolished by fundamental groups. By combining good negotiation skills with open dialog, rather than pushing our agenda in the face of rigid opposition, we have managed to dissolve the boundaries of gender discrimination, leading to an overall change in the perception of the general population.”

I Change Her Life is also using its platform to voice concerns about the violation of the rights of minorities living in Pakistan.

About Dr. Ambreen Zaman Riaz:

Dr Ambreen Zaman Riaz is a medical doctor, social entrepreneur, renaissance scholar, and polymath. She left her successful career as a cosmetic dermatologist to help disadvantaged women because she firmly believed that educated people needed to get actively involved in the social-service sector. Dr Zaman has worked as a volunteer for non-profits both in Pakistan and Turkey. This has further enhanced her enthusiasm to serve vulnerable and weak women.

Dr Zaman is an active advocate of women's rights and participates in highlighting the rights of Christian, Agha Khani, and non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan. Her commitment to change the lives of underprivileged women has enabled her to achieve the status of "change maker" in international circles.

About I Change Her Life:

I Change Her Life is a Social Business Enterprise committed to changing the lives of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Pakistan and refugees in Turkey. The organization creates positive social impact in the lives of the vulnerable and weak. Its aim is to create awareness about issues such as gender violence and the rights of minorities. To find out more, go to: www.ichangeherlife.com

Tags: women awards, company awards, organization awards, company of the year

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