Girl Child Network Worldwide is a grassroots NGO that originated in Zimbabwe in 1999 and now has chapters in several different countries. Founder and Director, Betty Makoni, has dedicated her life to girls’ empowerment, specifically giving a voice to the voiceless: girls between 1-16 years old. Starting out as a teacher, she recognized the need for girls to be safe when several of her students shared their stories of violence in the home.
From there grew girls’ empowerment clubs as well as girls’ empowerment villages – safe places where girls could come to recover and heal from the violence as well as go to school and find support to become strong young women.
As Zimbabwe’s political situation deteriorated, Betty had to leave and has relocated in Britain where GCNW headquarters currently are. Among the numerous awards Betty has received for the powerful work she has done over the years, she was recently given the CNN Heroes Award for Protecting the Powerless in 2009 and in 2011 was named by Newsweek as one of 150 women who shake the world.
Betty Makoni is visiting the Seattle area for her second time toward the end of September 2011. We are very lucky to have her back to share her visions and successes with us as well as inspire us to get involved. In her own words,
“The true worth of a nation must be measured by the empowerment of its girls.”
Eastside Domestic Violence Program will be hosting Betty Makoni and her workshop on girls’ empowerment on September 25, 2011 from 11am – 5pm in Bellevue. Specifically, the workshop is meant to share knowledge about Girl Child Network Worldwide and its work in Africa and England in order to mobilize girls to start their own empowerment clubs. The workshop will help potential girl club leaders understand ways they can use and cultivate the leadership skills that are within them in order to further empower themselves and others around them. Though intended for girls ages 14-21, the workshop is also open to anyone who is interested in girls’ empowerment.
There is a request for a 30$ dollar donation to Girl Child Network Worldwide at the door. All proceeds will go directly to meeting the needs of young girls. For further details contact Kathleen Miliken (Schmidt) at 206-856-4145, or KM_Schmidt@comcast.net. More information along with an application form can also be downloaded here: GCNW Empowerment Workshop Information.