Iman: Supermodel, Activist, Refugee
The world knows Iman as a supermodel, a successful businesswoman with her own cosmetics company and as a fashion icon alongside her husband David Bowie.
That’s only half the story. Iman also is a refugee whose family fled war in Somalia. In this exclusive interview in honor of International Women’s Day, Iman shares her incredible story of leaving Somalia for Kenya, being discovered by a fashion photographer, and finding global fame.
On International Women’s Day, as we celebrate the achievements of women and raise awareness of ongoing injustices against women, Iman’s success story is poignant, especially in light of the causes she fights for.
"Iman has been a fierce advocate for the rights of women and children in Africa and around the world. Her own experience as a refugee and a mother has deepened her commitment to contributing to a world where violence against women and girls is one day a thing of the past," notes Enough Project Co-Founder John Prendergast.
Iman is a Global Ambassador for Keep a Child Alive, raising awareness and funds to help African families affected by HIV/AIDS.
She was instrumental in the campaign against blood diamonds, terminating her contract with diamond giant DeBeers in protest over the diamond industry’s abuses in Africa.
As Iman and John discuss in the video, the deadliest war in the world is raging in the Congo right now. Over five million people have died, but that’s just part of the horror.
John Prendergast talks to Iman in her New York City office. (Photo: Robert Padavick/Enough)
Congo is the world’s most dangerous place for women and girls. Armed groups are using mass rape as a tactic of war as they compete to control Congo’s lucrative mineral wealth: tin, tantalum, tungsten (the “three Ts”) and gold.
Why are these minerals so coveted?
Cell phones, laptops, digital cameras and other devices wouldn’t work them. Armed groups make an estimated $150 million yearly from the conflict minerals trade. It’s a simple supply and demand equation, and it’s fueling the worst violence since the Holocaust.
The good news is, we have the power to help end it.
We as consumers must speak up and demand that the top electronics companies produce conflict-free products. By removing conflict minerals from the equation in Congo, we remove the fuel from the fire.
A full transcript of the interview can be found here.
Video directed and produced by Robert Padavick. Filming, editing and animation by Ivan Kander.
International Women's Day
Monday, March 8 marked International Women's Day. Here at Enough, we’ve decided to celebrate International Women’s Day all month long. Click here to get involved.
- Enough Said Celebrating Women in the Blogosphere - International Women's Day Every Day This Month.
- Check out Women for Women International's Join Me on the Bridge campaign page to find events in your city. Learn more here.
- Throughout the month of March, Save Darfur is urging activists to advocate for an end to violence against women in Darfur. Learn more here.
- Ten Reasons Why Eastern Congo is the Most Dangerous Place on Earth for Women - Click here.
- Through Their Eyes: An Online Photo Journal - Click here.
- Click to learn more about International Women's Day.
- SAY NO - UNiTE. Learn more here.
- On March 17, watch the Law & Order: SVU special episode on rape in Congo & join our online discussion.
- Support the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA).