Sonita Alizadeh, an Afghan rapper and international advocate to end the forced marriage, was awarded the 2021 Freedom Prize earlier this week.
She was chosen by 5,683 young people from 86 countries to receive an award of €25,000 to support her work.
The Freedom Prize was organized by the Normandy for Peace Initiative in the Normandy Region of France.
The organization recognizes an inspiring young person between aged 15 t0 25 who is committed to an exemplary fight for freedom.
Sonita, 25, is the third Freedom Prize laureate, Normandy for Peace Initiative said in a statement.
Sonita Alizadeh was born during the Taliban regime in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime.
"At the age of 9, her parents planned to sell her as a bride but because of the war, her family fled to Iran and the planned marriage fell through," the statement said.
"In Teheran, an NGO provided her with access to education and a cleaning job. When Sonita stumbled upon a song by the rapper Eminem, it is a real breakthrough. She began writing to tell her story and to speak out against forced marriage and the plight of millions of children around the world," the statement read
Her first single, "Brides for Sale" garnered worldwide attention.
Having moved to the United States, she is now a Human Rights major studying law at Bard College. She plans to become a lawyer and to return to her country to defend Afghan women and children.
About the Freedom Prize
The Freedom Prize is an educational initiative that aims to raise awareness of freedom, peace, and human rights, inspired by the values of the D-Day landings of June 6, 1944 in Normandy, France.
The Freedom Prize invites young people aged 15 to 25 from France and around the world to choose an inspiring person or organization committed to an exemplary fight for freedom. What makes the prize unique is that it involves young people at each stage: from the proposals submitted to the international panel of judges to the final selection of the winner.
Organized by the Normandy for Peace Initiative, implemented with the International Institute of Human Rights and Peace, in partnership with the academic authorities of Normandy and the Canopé network, the Freedom Prize pays tribute to all those who have fought and continue to fight for this ideal.