Zimbabwean, Dr. Rita Nyampinga, of Female Prisoners Support Trust was awarded the 2020 International Women of Courage Award by the United States First Lady Melania Trump at the State Department in Washington.

Melania said she is inspired by the personal stories of each of the women, noting that they often risk their safety to help others.

“These are the faces of true heroism,” she said.

Dr Nyampinga has been a human rights defender for more than 35 years, fighting for gender equality since she joined a trade union in 1983.

In a interview after the ceremony Nyamupinga said she is in cloud nine because she didn’t expect to get an award.

A dozen women from Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, an autonomous prefecture in China, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and Zimbabwe received the 2020 International Women of Courage Award from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.