The Grinnell College has awarded the 2019 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize to Shafiq R. Khan
Shafiq has now returned from the US having received the Grinnell Prize for Social Justice Award, conferred upon him for the breadth and depth of his work against Bride Trafficking in India. Notably, he is also the first Indian to receive the prestigious Grinnell prize.
Shafiq was in campus of Grinnell college for receive Grinnell prize and participate in Grinnell Prize week. Shafiq had opportunity to share EP’s work, innovation and use of tool with students faculties and Activists along with alumni of the college.
The College had organized a social justice tour for Shafiq in Grinnell town where he learnt about History of the town, issues and challenges related to land, poverty, social security. Shafiq had opportunity to see corn and soya fields. IOWA is known for producing Soya and corn and its economy actually depends on export of Soya, Corn and pork. Usually IOWA farmers have handed over their land to corporations which isolate them from farming and corporations pay them against their land. Corporations focuses on producing products which may export easily they have also started producing soyabean which is alien crop for the area but have become major export crop from the state.
Soya farming is new to IOWA it was started just 20 years ago and the state became exporter of soya. IOWA is exporting their products to china latin America as well as other states with in USA.
But the real challenge of socially concerned people are that young generation is completely isolated from the production, agriculture and the land. Young generation don’t even know about how flour looks like or maybe what wheat is. Thanks to Andrew and Melissa Dunham who are bridging the gap with their heritage Farm which produce vegetables and fruit which also give young people opportunity to see how farmers grow these products in their land. Farm is 80 acer land owned by Andrew who is 5th generation proud farmer.
Shafiq had opportunity to attend Grinnell Prize – Intercultural student group lunch. Where he shared his work and took questions from students belonging to different cultural background. The intercultural student group had Asian, American, African students many of them were aware of bride trafficking and some are wondering if it can be termed as trafficking.
Shafiq Visits Cynthia Hansen’s Language Change class where he shares about how language influence local culture and how language help us in locating someone’s whereabout. Shafiq Share story of a child living in Agra Shelter home for almost 7 years and his one word enabled Shafiq in locating his family with in 2 hours.
Faculty and students joined Shafiq in session of Indian Folklore in Grassroots Feminist Activism where Shafiq was discussing how our organization use folklore instead of using technical terms like patriarchy, feminism or social justice.
Shafiq had opportunity to attend Time Dobe’s Religion in India class where Shafiq was discussing how religious story is influencing people in joining anti trafficking movement as well as help in community rehabilitation of survivors.
Shafiq also attends Sejal Sutaria’s Ethics of Humanitarianism class, where he discussed ethic of a change maker and also why he feels that each human trafficking survivor is a revolutionary and why they deserve second chance to be liberated.
Shafiq also attends Gemma Sala’s Tutorial 100 - Violence class where shared his work and also discussed that how concept of protection is a kind of violence against survivor of trafficking.
In Ino Nilolopoulou's Feminism & Popular Culture class Shafiq discussed how language needs to be reworked for sake of equality among citizens. He also discussed how folklore and other popular culture is helping people in making positive change.
Shafiq also had opportunity to learn from Kesho Scott’s class. When Shafiq enters her class a surprise was waiting for him. He was asked to join an activity in which he learnt about type of tourism and imposed culture.
Shafiq Khan has come back with a doubled vigour and reinforced strength to take up the next lap of his 20 years long working in the field of social sector. We are all excited to see what new horizons he reveals with his trailblazing eye for details, a penchant for revealing inapparent connections across various domains and an uncanny knack of drawing innovative solutions to strengthen the movement against bride trafficking.
Overall, the Prize event and the following exchange at Grinnell College stands to be one of the most fruitful exchanges and we hope to continue this association for years to come.