Not often do you meet a real modern day hero like Betty Makoni. A woman of strong conviction whose body seems to be filled with electricity when she passionately and buoyantly makes her points about the need to protect young girls. In her native Zimbabwe, Betty grew up in a challenging environment where her Mother ultimately fell victim to abuse and was murdered by Betty’s father. Surviving rapes and abusive treatment, little Betty at the age of 9 became openly defiant while questioning her elders and demanding the abuse stop. As she grew into womanhood her passion brought her to work in the field of child trafficking and abuse where she has touched the lives of over 35,000 girls and her training continues to draw attention, both good and bad.
Being put on a red list in Zimbabwe, Betty has self exiled herself and her family to the UK, where she works tirelessly from her new home while going in and out of Africa to train girls. She then travels the rest of the world to build awareness that a better future is possible. In 2009 CNN gave Betty the admired CNN Hero award.
I had first met Betty in Santa Cruz, California on International Women’s Day in Feb, 2011. I have to admit, it was my first experience with the event and I had very little knowledge about Betty and her work. I was invited with a handful of others to share lunch with Betty and to hear her speak. Before accepting, I did a little research on Betty and her work and found it compelling enough to get me motivated to make the hour plus car trip to the coast side town in California.
Within the hour I met Betty, I knew we must get her to International Women’s Fair (IWF) in Ghana for the early May event. As the Global Ambassador, I knew Betty’s proactive education and training programs would benefit any country. I felt particularly excited that we could continue to spread her work in Africa, where there is such determination in women who want to end the cycle of abuse and hopelessness.
The IWF was earlier this month in Ghana and yes, we were able to get Betty to join us thanks to the organizers and Virgin Atlantic. It turned out to be an amazing week filled with men and women coming together to support the world of women, including Betty Makoni and her foundation, the Girl Child Network Worldwide. Betty was able to spend an additional week in Accra and continued to meet with groups and potential partners.
As I worked in parallel with Betty while we were in Ghana, we were able to cultivate an endearing friendship that will surely continue. The International Women’s Fair was a celebration of Mothers, businesswomen, committed partners and young girls.
The international message was clearly made by presenters like Dr. Kofi Amoah. He called women to action through his presentation on taking businesses to the global community. An inspiration himself, a few decades ago, Dr. Kofi took the idea of bringing Western Union to. Against great odds, he succeeded in Ghana, and he also took Western Union throughout all of Africa, creating opportunities never imagined before around the continent.
Ghana proves once again, it is a country of opportunity and a good entry point to the African marketplace. From travel to pharmaceuticals to bright business ideas, Ghana has no shortage of entrepreneurs and early adapters. And now they have Betty Makoni, World Ambassador for Young Women.
For more information go to: www.TravelTalkMEDIA.com or http://www.girlchildnetworkworldwide.org
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