Vital Voices Global Partnership, an organization committed to nurturing female leaders, has consistently supported those who pursue personal missions to protect and empower women in their communities. Meet the six phenomenal women honored at its annual gala in Washington, DC.
In Zafar's native Pakistan, it can be hard for women to get loans to start their own businesses or support their families, especially if they are head of the household. Zafar set out to remove such gender-based obstacles and founded the Kashf Foundation, the country's first specialized microfinance institute, in 1996. To date, it has distributed $225 million in loans to over one million low-income families.
As a graffiti artist, Castro took her talent to Rio de Janeiro's favelas — or slums — and painted murals to inform women about new laws protecting the rights of domestic violence victims. To further her impact, Castro co-founded Artefeito, an organization that uses art as a medium to promote socially conscious campaigns.