December 23, 2019
Before 2019 moves to the rearview mirror, we want to salute a few of the myriad #WomenStrongWarriors with whom and for whom we work – awesome development and medical practitioners, educators, and the countless urban women and girls themselves, who make a difference every day for the women and girls in their communities — a salute to you ALL!
A Shout-Out to Founding WomenStrong Member Beldina Opiyo-Omolo!
Congratulations to founding WomenStrong member and #WomenStrongWarrior Beldina Opiyo-Omolo, who was awarded the George S. Thompson, Jr. Award by East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania in late October.
Beldina was recognized “for her exceptional accomplishment in community and human relations” and for “embodying multicultural and diverse values.” Beldina’s Alice Visionary Foundation Project was an original WomenStrong consortium member, working to empower urban women and girls in the slums of Kisumu, Kenya.
Learn more about Beldina, featured here as part of WomenStrong’s #BeBoldforChange series.
A Salute to Raju Rajapandian and DHAN Foundation
We salute #WomenStrongWarrior Raju “Raja” Rajapandian, DHAN Foundation’s Health Director who, in tandem with DHAN Foundation and with support from WomenStrong International, has overseen the health screenings in Madurai, India, of thousands of adolescent girls. Most of these girls are anemic, many severely so; after their screening, they are seen and treated at the SUHAM Community Hospital built by DHAN and are welcomed into DHAN’s Girls’ Clubs program, where they cover a wide array of topics, including nutrition and health, yoga, dance, tailoring, and IT, and planning their own careers.
Here’s to Raja and DHAN, for their continually championing the power of girls and women in development!
Kudos to Women’s Health to Wealth and the Mfensi Girls’ Club!
Kudos to Mfensi Girls’ Club members, outside Kumasi, Ghana, who spoke out this last International Day of the Girl against child marriage and for girls’ right to an education. Founding WomenStrong member Women’s Health to Wealth trained 88 educators in 72 schools in seven districts to run Girls’ Clubs, using WomenStrong’s Strong Girls Make Strong Women Girls’ Club Handbook. These educators in turn trained 75 more facilitators, and together, they have now engaged some 3500 girls and boys in 105 Girls’ Clubs and 12 Boys’ Clubs across Ghana’s Ashanti District.
Hats off to these impassioned student warriors for girls’ rights, to the Ashanti school district leaders and teachers, who have proven themselves fiercely eager to educate girls, and to Women’s Health to Wealth founder/director Abenaa Akuamoa-Boateng, for her vision, spirit, and leadership – truly #WomenStrongWarriors all!
Our Newest WomenStrong SHEros Collaborate Across Continents to Empower Girls
All the members of our Girls’ Education and Empowerment Lab are awesome #WomenStrongWarriors! Here we single out three who are working together, as part of a Learning Lab collaboration that bridges continents:
Elvia Raquec left school at 14 because her father needed her to work in the fields of Guatemala’s Western Highlands. Elvia lobbied him hard, though, until after two years, he allowed her to return to school. Today Elvia, now a university graduate and Programs Director for Women’s Justice Initiative, works with lawyer and human rights advocate Kate Flatley, WJI’s Founder and Executive Director, to enforce girls’ rights and persuade many more fathers and whole communities to end child marriage and allow their girls to remain in school.
Like Elvia, Monica Nyirahuhabwa, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Girl Up Initiative Uganda, fought for her right to an education and now leads a tremendous program to educate girls like her. With degrees from University College London and Makerere University, Monica is leading her fabulous GUIU team in working with boys, men, and with religious, political, and community leaders in impoverished Kampala neighborhoods, to build whole communities that stand up for girls’ and women’s right to thrive and to lead.
Through WomenStrong’s Learning Lab, Monica, Elvia, and Kate are now collaborating on what it takes to engage whole communities in educating girls and affirming girls’ and women’s rights.
Here’s to these awesome #WomenStrongWarriors and to the powers of cross-learnng and collaboration in empowering women and girls!
A Very Happy New Year, From the WomenStrong Team!
From all of us at WomenStrong International to all of you, here’s to a year full of peace, joy, strong women and girls, and ever more #WomenStrongWarriors in 2020!
Please send us your own stories of the #WomenStrongWarriors in your lives; send them, together with a photo, if possible, to [email protected].