About Iram

Born into a large, North Indian Muslim family, Iram Saaed is at home in both Delhi (Dilli) and Dili. Despite not receiving any formal education, her father was a visionary and firm believer in women’s education. He has been the torch bearer of the clan by sending his daughters to school for the first time ever and later supported them to embark on their own professional careers. Girls’ education was still not something in her community’s frame of reference at the time, never mind the revolutionary step of professional employment. As can be expected, it didn’t come easy and Iram’s parents faced lot of backlash for their decisions from their extended family and community. But that didn’t deter them having faith in their daughters and their daughters rewarded them by succeeding in their studies and elevating the family to new levels in their personal and professional pursuits. Iram was the youngest of a first generation of learners and followed in the footsteps trail-blazed by her sisters.

Iram has two decades of experience as an international development professional, a social entrepreneur, a human rights activist and sustainable, organic agriculture champion. Her key focus areas are on issues related to: gender and rights, LGBTI, women’s health, violence against women, reproductive and sexual health, HIV and adolescent health. Her association with UN agencies and INGOs like Marie Stopes International, the Elton John Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and ActionAid is noteworthy. She is also a published writer on issues of early marriage, early pregnancy and adolescent health. She is also an alumna of the Asia Pacific Leadership Program of the East West Center at the University of Hawaii.

“Change starts with ourselves and everyone has the capacity to make a difference. This is why I have dedicated my life to improving the lives of the most marginalized and vulnerable.”

After working on the Indian sub-continent for 15 years, she moved to Timor-Leste in 2012. As a result she’s become even more mindful about environmental issues and now concentrates a lot of her efforts in this area. As a trained social worker, she believes that communities should be the center of all actions and benefits. To maximize the policy and program impact, there is a need to access the most-difficult-to-reach groups and listen to and incorporate their concerns and feedback. This led her to co-found the Leublora Green School with Bella Galhos.

Her work on gender, human rights and on LGBTI rights has also sharpened as a result of her experiences in the Timorese context. Recently, she co-led a Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender study, the first-of-its-kind research in Timor Leste. This research report has been published and highly appreciated. As a result of it, she was invited to present her findings at the ASEAN Women’s Summit in Manila in November 2017. She is continuing her research and advocacy work in this area to promote equality for all in Timor-Leste.

For more information on Iram or to invite her
to participate in an event or campaign, please contact us.