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by Crina Okumus
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Interview Your A Hero | Dr. Alganesc Fessaha, Social Activist


Dr Alganesc Fessaha is the Founder and President of Associazione Gandhi, a non-profit organization that supports disadvantaged and abused refugees in general, children and women refugees in particular in various Western and Eastern African countries and in Europe.

Dr Alganesc has been a leading activist in the fight against the human trafficking, kidnapping, torture and rape of African refugees in the Sinai Peninsula.

In October 2013 during the Lampedusa tragedy which saw 300 people perish in the Mediterranean sea, she was the main point of reference for the families of the deceased, the Italian authorities in identifying and recording the bodies and for the survivors.

Dr Alganesc has wide broadcasting experience and has been vocal on human rights issues, such as infibulation of women in Africa and Asia, women’s rights and refugee problems. She is fluent in English, Italian, French, Spanish, Arabic and Tigrigna and holds a degree in Sociology and Psychology and a Masters in Political Science from the University of Cattolica in Milan.

In 2014, Dr Alganesc published Occhi Nel Deserto, a photographic book illustrating the plight of refugees in Africa. The pictures have been taken and collected by Dr. Fesseha during her years of fights for the rights of refugees, and her many journeys to save and rescue refugees.

Her relentless work in helping refugees, women, children, and the elderly in Africa has been widely commended by both governmental and non-governmental entities and has earned her several recognitions and awards;

In 2010 She was awarded the Peace Medal from the Lombardia Region.

In 2013 she was awarded the Ambrogino d’Oro by the Council of the city of Milan, for her contribution to the city of Milan.

In 2013 she was also awarded the Premio Nazionale per I Diritti Umani Maria Rita Saulle, a national prize awarded to those advocating human rights.

In 2015 she was awarded the Roland Berger Human Dignity award in Berlin. Her name was also included in the Giardino dei Giusti – the garden of the righteous in Milan.

In October 2015, the President of the Italian Republic Mattarella awarded her the highest national award Ufficiale dell’ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana - The order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

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Episode 29

Season 1

by Crina Okumus