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TheWIFTS FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL VISIONARY AWARDS
DEC 1st 2012
Passion & Integrity
Commerce & Creativity
Equality Not Hierarchy


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Betty Makoni 
Humanitarian Award
  
 
About Betty Makoni
Founder The Girl Child Network
  
Betty Makoni, a former Zimbabwean schoolteacher, is helping tens of thousands of girls in her country fight back against sexual exploitation, poverty and violence through a supportive network of school-based clubs that empower girls to attend school and resist attitudes that condone abuse of females. Makoni's Girl Child Network covers school fees and supplies, offers safe houses for counseling and rehabilitation of sexually abused girls and exposes their cases of sexual violence and assault. In ten years, the program has spread to most of the country's rural districts and enrolls 35,000 girls today.

Makoni, 37, started the Girl Child Network with six girls in 1998. Since then, it has served 35,000 girls of all ages – according to Makoni, many of them have become doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professionals. The program is now being replicated in diverse countries, including Canada, South Africa, Swaziland, Sweden and the United States.

As a schoolteacher, Makoni seized upon the idea for a non-profit network to fight violence, especially rape, when she saw that two-thirds of her female students had left school each year because of rape or other violence, extreme poverty or the HIV/AIDS infection, which affects one out of every five adults, most of them women, in Zimbabwe. By 1999, Makoni left teaching to devote herself full time to the Girl Child Network, which today has 30 staff members.

Makoni's work has attracted financial support and recognition from international foundations and organizations. She won the 2007 World Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child, was featured in last year's book Women Who Light the Dark (PowerHouse Books), received the 2008 Ginetta Sagan Award from Amnesty International and in April 2009 was honored by the Dalai Lama as an Unsung Hero of Compassion.
Betty believes empowerment through education helps girls resist early marriage and sexual exploitation – all too common in areas stricken with poverty, as poor girls are offered money in exchange for sexual favors.

Makoni has established three "safe homes" to shelter girls of Zimbabwe. She and her team rescue and watch over abused and exploited girls by providing counseling, schooling and rehabilitation in these homes.

www.tapestriesofhope.com






 
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Philippe Mora
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TheWIFTS 2012

 

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