WASHINGTON, MARCH 8, 2019 (CISA)-Sr Orla Treacy, 46, of the institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was on March 7 honoured with the 2019 International Women of Courage Award for her contribution to education of girls in South Sudan.
Sr Orla, a native of Ireland, was awarded alongside nine other women, three from Africa including; Anna Aloys Henga from Tanzania, Mama Maggie from Egypt and Moumina Houssein Darar from Djibouti by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and the US first lady Melania Trump in an event held at the US Department of State in Washington DC.
The annual event honours women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice.
Sr Orla has been in South Sudan since 2006, when her religious congregation initiated the boarding secondary school for girls in the Catholic diocese of Rumbek.
She was nominated for the award by the De La Salle Brothers through the US Embassy to the Holy See.
Sr Orla has been challenging the culture of early and arranged marriages which greatly affected girl child education.
“This award belongs to the young women of South Sudan with whom I have the privilege of working,” she said and further added that, “Our students embody all that is courageous – they are young women of vision, strength and hope; young women who dream of a better country for themselves and their families, who are prepared to challenge old structures and work toward making South Sudan great,” she said in an interview with CANAA.
She expressed gratitude to those who have supported her ministry in South Sudan saying, “Our work in South Sudan is not possible without the ongoing support of our partners, our wider Loreto family, past pupils, students, staff and our local community in Rumbek.”
Since its inception in March 2007, the US State Department has recognized more than 120 women from over 65 different countries around the world.