Batulo Essak awarded the prestigeous Aleksandra Prize for achievements in promoting equality

HELSINKI, 26 April 2006 The National Council of Women of Finland celebrating its 95th Anniversary has decided to award Ms. Batulo Essak the second Aleksandra Prize for her pioneering work for immigrant women and families and in promoting cross-cultural understanding.

Led by her motto: " When managing today, I know I can manage tomorrow as well*, Batulo left her home in Somalia for studies in Moscow. She migrated to Finland in 1991, and since then has established a family and worked many years as midwife and public
health nurse in maternity and children?s welfare clinics in Vantaa.

She continues to deliver health education to immigrant communities and give thematic talks in schools and institutions. Batulo also was appointed the Refugee Woman of the year 2000. She is contributes to the local politics and has been member of the City Council in Vantaa as
representative of the Green League since 2005. Batulo never feared to tackle and bringh forth also sensitive issues, as she has participated during the years to anti-FGM activities and at the moment works for The Finnish AIDS-council planning for multicultural HIV-programmes.

Batulo Essak has realized the importance of joining the
efforts of individuals and of networking with the Finnish community, and she has
established a NGO Africarewo to empower the African women in Finland
(, now a member of the National Council of Women of Finland.

Essak has worked hard to facilitate the integration of the immigrant women into the
Finnish society in finding job opportunities and learning Finnish. She is active in many
other NGOs as well, a newly elected member of the board of KEPA, the Finnish Service
Centre for Development Cooperation and the Chairperson for Finland-Somalia Association.
The Aleksandra Prize is now awarded only for the second time.

The first to be awarded in
2003 was Finnish radio journalist Paivi Istala. The Prize commemorates Ms. Aleksandra
Gripenberg, one of the founders of the National Council as well as one of the first women
to be elected in 1907 to Finland?s first unicameral parliament.