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Last updated: 02 March, 2010 - Published 17:57 GMT
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US award for IDP activist

Mohamed Majeed Jensila
Ms Majeed has focused on uniting the Muslim and Tamil communities
Sri Lankan activist Mohamed Majeed Jensila is among ten worldwide recipients of the US State Department's International Women of Courage award for 2010.

She is the head of the Community Trust Fund engaged in activities for the betterment of the minority women in Puttalam and other districts in the north eastern region.

The United States Embassy in Colombo says Jensila is working with young people on minority women's issues including women's rights, peace building, relief work, and mine risk education.

"Ms Majeed's own particular focus is on uniting the Muslim and Tamil communities in her province," the Embassy said in a statement.

Jensila's native place is Mullaithivu in the northern province.

Evicted 'by the LTTE'

"We were displaced when the LTTE evicted the whole Muslim community from the Northern Province in 1990, and sought refuge in Puttalam," she told the BBC Tamil Service.

Since then she lives there with husband and three children.

Erik Solheim (r) with Muslim IDPs in Puttalam (file photo)
Ms. Majeed was dispalced when the LTTE evicted Muslims from the north

"Having lived as an internally displaced person (IDP) for almost 20 years, Ms. Majeed has become an energetic activist for services for displaced Muslim and Tamil civilians, focusing particularly on grassroots programs on life skills, health, and women�s empowerment," the US embassy said.

She started the Community Trust Fund with just five people in 1992.

"At the start the task was very difficult," she said.

But she was able to overcome the obstacles with support of her husband and brothers in her family, as it is not an easy thing for the Muslim women to engage themselves in public and social activities.

"She overcame both the general neglect of the problem of IDPs in the Muslim minority as well as her own community�s parameters for women activists to build a broad-based organization that effectively works on minority and women�s issues in a highly sensitive and politicized environment," the statement said.

The annual International Women of Courage Award was started in March 2007 to recognize women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women�s rights and advancement.

This is the only award within the Department of State that pays tribute to outstanding women leaders worldwide. It recognizes the courage and leadership shown as they struggle for social justice and human rights.

The other awardees this year are: Shukria Asil (Afghanistan), Col. Shafiqa Quraishi (Afghanistan), Androula Henriques (Cyprus), Sonia Pierre (Dominican Republic), Shadi Sadr (Iran), Ann Njogu (Kenya), Dr. Lee Ae-ran (Republic of Korea), Sister Marie Claude Naddaf (Syria), and Jestina Mukoko (Zimbabwe).

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