The Embassy of Finland has awarded the Founding Director of Omba Arts Trust, Ms. Karin le Roux, with the Finnish Hän Honour of Namibia.
Namibia’s Hän Honour was announced by Finland’s Ambassador to Namibia Ms. Pirkko-Liisa Kyöstilä from the Embassy of Finland in Windhoek.
With Hän, Finnish embassies around the world have given recognition to individuals doing exemplary work in promoting equality and inclusivity in their countries.
Ms. le Roux received the honour to celebrate her long-standing work in advancing inclusivity and equality through the development of sustainable livelihoods for marginalised communities.
Omba Arts Trust supports artists and craftspeople in rural Namibia by selling and marketing their unique works.
“Equality is a core value for Finland and its people. In 2017, the year Finland celebrated the 100th anniversary of its independence, our country awarded the first International Gender Equality Prize to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The prize was awarded for the second time in 2019 to a women’s rights organization ‘Equality Now’.
“With the Hän Honour, Finnish embassies around the world wanted to highlight individuals or groups that are committed to promoting equality-related values in their countries.
“Ms. le Roux is a pioneer in developing, marketing and researching the crafts sector in Namibia. Her important work has benefitted thousands of Namibians especially in rural areas over the past 30 years,” Kyöstilä said.
The honour borrows its name from the Finnish word “hän”, which is an inclusive third-person pronoun encompassing both “he” and “she” at the same time.
“Hän” is thus taken to be the symbol for a better world, where people are judged neither by their gender, background nor appearance. Thus, the pronoun stands for equal opportunity for all.
“It’s a wonderful recognition for our work, my staff and the people we work with in the community. It was really unexpected. It is very nice to get this recognition. I’m very happy,” said an excited Le Roux.
In the photo: Veteran Namibian art and craft promoter Karin le Roux.