Sadiqa Basiri Saleem, Vital Voices honoree, Awarded Fellowship by Chicago Council on Foreign Relations

Sadiqa Basiri Saleem, 2009 Vital Voices Rising Voices Award honoree, has been awarded the 2010 Patricia Blunt Koldyke Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations.

The fellowship was created in 2006 by Patricia Blunt and Martin J. Koldyke to recognize emerging leaders who focus on alleviating the social perils that ail children and youth. As a fellow, Sadiqa has been awarded $12,500 as well as a week’s stay in Chicago.

While in Chicago, she will meet with local organizations, businesses and government institutions, and will be given the opportunity to learn from these programs as well as provide insight from her own projects. The fellowship enables the flow of best practices and innovative ideas. Sadiqa will be honored by The Chicago Council’s Board and other leading figures from Chicago and will deliver the annual Patricia Blunt Koldyke Lecture.

Sadiqa is Co-Founder of the Oruj Learning Center. Established in 2002 by three women refugees living in Pakistan, the Oruj Learning Center is the solitary local organization operating in the Wardak province of eastern Afghanistan, located just three hours from Kabul.

The Center seeks to provide education and combat violence against women. In her current position as Co-Founder of the Oruj Learning Center, Sadiqa hopes to establish two new schools for returning Afghan citizens and Internally Displaced Persons. She also looks to establish an Afghan Women’s Leadership Institute to train high school graduates on business management and leadership skills. Sadiqa holds an undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College, where she enrolled as a prestigious Francis Perkins Scholar. She is an active member of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network and was a supporter of the Vital Voices 2002 program, ‘Back to Work, Back to School Afghan Uniform Project to Support Women and Girls’.