To celebrate ten years of their work Betty sent all of GCN’s funders and supporters a heart felt thank you.
IDEX is honored to know Betty Makoni and everyone at GCN and glad to have played a roll in your inspiring success. Thank you Betty and GCN for your work.
And to GlobalGiving donors we thank you for supporting GCN and IDEX partners around the world.
Email from Betty:
Empowered rural girl from Zimbabwe heads to Oxford University: GCN celebrates 10 years on 21 March 2009
From torn paper to laptop to email to technology to communication
From silent victims of harmful cultural practices to international advocates for girls rights
From speechless girls, to mouthful girls
From the smoky huts to five star hotels
From the dark potholed dusty roads of remote rural areas to lightful streets of Oxford, New York, Harare
From invisible past to visible present and future
From tearful songs to songs of empowerment
From verseless poetry to voiceful poetry
Girls are walking in the fullness of their potential
(By Betty Makoni, Unpublished poet and Founder of Girl Child Network)
On Saturday 21 March 2009, Girl Child Network (www.gcn.org.zw) turns ten years. There is a girl who emailed me as below and I felt she summed it up well so well. Please note I removed her name from the original email but the rest of the email is in its original form and content.
I was at Tsindi Secondary School in Rusape, Manicaland in 2006. I just want to say a big thank you to you and the Girl Child Network Trust Zimbabwe. You helped me a lot not financially but with the sweet and advising words you said when you came to our School. Now I have grown knowing my rights, knowing I have to speak up and always view the sky as the limit.
Me being brought up in our small village and we did not have enough opportunities to do what other girls where doing, I used to look at myself like I am nothing and whenever we had sports and gatherings, I used to feel like I do not exist. Thanks to you I finally saw the potential, which was inside myself, right now as I write to you I am studying Nursing and Paramedic and I will be going to university in September, which is amazing. I will be going to Oxford University by the way and I give all the thanks to you because you made me realize I can do anything. I hope the GCNT is still going on no matter what happened or what happens back home.
Thank you very much and god bless!!!
I hope Mai Mvududu is still cheerful as she used to be.
Love you and take care.”
Personally I never imagined a situation where a rural girl would one day email from Oxford to say, “I finally made it.” I was used to seeing girls with dirty, torn uniforms, shoeless and rough feet and rough hands. My picture of girls in tears, overworked, married off, domesticated and raped made me worry a lot. Each time I looked at them I saw great potential erased by abject poverty. Now when I open my email box ten years down the line, I get messages that make me feel the world must relook empowerment programs for girls and replicate wherever, whenever, however they can use the Girl Child Empowerment Model by Girl Child Network.
I told girls in Canada many times that each time I fly to their country it is the voice of a male pilot that I hear and then I see many air hostesses serving food. Not that it is a bad thing to be an airhostess but we need the number of those pilots and air hostesses balanced in terms of gender .So we must not tire in our efforts in supporting girls so that we close on the gender inequality gap created by patriarchy in the world and according to me it does not matter whether one is in the north or south. It looks gender inequality and women empowerment needs to be addressed at a much earlier stage. Girls will be women but women will never be girls again and so we start now!!!!!!!!!!!!!
From 1999 we have supported thousands of girls in Zimbabwe to transform from perceived victims to leaders and many now walk in the fullness of their potential. Girl Child Network turns 10 on 21 March 2009.We have every reason to celebrate our achievements and please join us!
Tomorrow in Chitungwiza a high-density suburb of over one million people, girls will celebrate their 10th anniversary and Stembile Mabhena, former National Girls Executive Secretary General and current representative of girls on the board will give a key-note address and spell out the next vision for Girl Child Network from 2009 to 2019. Girls will march from our offices in Zengeza 4 to Makoni Shopping centre.
Throughout the year many events will take part formally and informally where Girl Child Network will share the Girl Child Network Model within and outside Zimbabwe.
The whole world has supported GCN morally and financially.
But mostly our story was made possible by all of you.
Thank you all on behalf of girls in Zimbabwe and tomorrow is a big day for us all.
IDEX is proud and delighted to be part of your work and wishes everyone at GCN a very Happy Birthday.