April 8, 2013 | Education, Health and Well-Being, Violence Against Women

5 of the Bravest Women on Earth

Summit honors 2013's Women of Impact.

Top: Khalida Brohi, Humaira Bachal, Molly Melching; Bottom: Phiona Mutesi, Susana Trimarco

Facing down death threats. Battling sex traffickers. Fighting forced marriage. Five heroes who do all that, and more, were honored by the Women in the World Foundation at the 2013 Women in the World Summit on April 5 at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

Cited as Women of Impact, each of these achievers received a $25,000 grant from the Women in the World Foundation, to be used by their affiliated nonprofits to carry on their work. The honorees are:

Khalida Brohi, who, despite death threats, crusades against honor killing and for the rights of women in Pakistan through her organization, Sughar, which aims to create a society where women are honored, not killed.

Humaira Bachal, also from Pakistan, who at age 12 began setting up impromptu classes to give an education to girls in Karachi’s poorest neighborhood and now runs the Dream Model Street School for 700 girls and boys.

Molly Melching, the founder of Tostan, which successfully works against female genital cutting and child marriage in Africa. Her nonprofit builds sustainable communities while promoting equal rights.

Phiona Mutesi, 17, who rose above a childhood of poverty and abject hunger to become Uganda’s national chess champion and a contender in the World Chess Olympiad. Her success has inspired other girls to take up the game.

Susana Trimarco, whose daughter was kidnapped in 2002 and apparently sold to sex traffickers. Trimarco, who has not seen her daughter since the abduction, fights against sex trafficking through her Maria de los Angeles Foundation.