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Country: Romania
Name: Wajiha Haris

Organization: Scheherazade Foundation

Wajiha Haris is President and Founder of Fundatia Scheherazade, where she oversees the conception, design, implementation and funding of all development projects. Her responsibilities include determining what projects will have the greatest development impact and overseeing these projects from the initial stages through completion. One of the reasons she has achieved her remarkable success is by collaborating successfully with politicians, business executives, academicians and royalty. Many of these people did not collaborate with each other until Wajiha persuaded them of this necessity.

Ms. Haris initially pursued a career in banking, but was drawn into nonprofit work when she saw the impact she had while volunteering. She decided to pursue NGO work fulltime, directing her efforts to the most vulnerable members of society, especially children. She is particularly interested in improving the health and assuring the basic rights of children. She has worked for UNICEF, UNDP and UNHCR. She has implemented projects with significant impact in Pakistan, Dubai, Czech Republic and Romania (where she currently resides).

Projects successfully completed include raising € 3 million for the complete renovation of the largest children’s hospital in Romania which takes care of 180,000 children a year from all over the country, renovation of a children’s ambulatory section in the city of Constanta which serves a population of 45,000 children around the region. She also raised funds for the renovation and vocational training seminars of a facility that houses abandoned/abused and drug addicted children. She organized a major international conference in Romania that addressed children’s rights and formed a network of attorneys to defend children’s rights on a pro bono basis. She also organized a series of seminars that taught the latest surgical methods for treating pediatric malformations and disabilities. Her partners were The Hague Human rights Fund and The Council of Europe.

She organized a conference with all Romanian ministries and judiciaries involved in child legislation that reviewed all legislation-involving children. In collaboration with the Council of Europe, the Romanian National Authority for Child Protection and the Romanian Ministry of Education, Research Youth and Sports she launched a campaign to abolish corporal punishment. Ms. Haris has organized numerous events to promote intercultural, interreligious dialogue together with the ministry of foreign Affairs of Romania. She is one of the champions for creating Global UNAOC Civil Society Chapter, and part of the Steering Committee of UNAOC Civil Society Chapter in Romania

The President of Romania bestowed the honor of “Knight” upon her. Other, among her many honors and awards are: “Honored Citizen Award” from the Mayor of Bucharest, “Woman of the Year Award,” and nomination as a “Civil Society Partner for the United Nations Alliance of Civilization” by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.