Muskan Khatun, a survivor of acid attack in 2019 turned rights activist against the same malpractice, has been awarded the prestigious 2021 International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award for her work to end acid attacks.

First Lady of the United States Jill Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken will host a virtual event on March 8 to confer the award.

Now in its 15th year, the IWOC Award recognizes 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.

Khatun, in 2019 and at an age of 15, was subjected to an acid attack for rejecting a boy’s romantic advances. She suffered severe burns on her face, chest, and hands. She has powered through a painful recovery process, both physically and mentally, and continues to do so.

According to the US Embassy in Kathmandu, “Muskan turned a tragedy into an opportunity to bring about change in Nepal. Facing threats and social pressure, Muskan lobbied for stronger laws and punishments for acid attacks. She met with Prime Minister KP Oli, who called for a new law to be drafted for acid attacks and issued an ordinance punishing perpetrators and regulating the sale of chemicals.”

“Muskan’s leadership was crucial in bringing about change. The US Embassy in Nepal is proud to support her and promote the advancement of women’s and girls’ rights in Nepal,” the Embassy added.