Since Tuesday, April 8, the Office of the Special Envoy for Women and Children has featured a special lady on its Facebook page each week. The initiative is being called “Trailblazer Tuesday” and according to the Special Envoy it is an extension of the Women's Empowerment Campaign started by the office with the 20,000 Strong Rally on March 6.

The Facebook page is Special Envoy Belize and three women have been featured since the launch of Trailblazer Tuesdays. Those women are Mrs. Marie Sharp, Mrs. Sandra Bedran and Mrs. Rossana Briceño. They are featured on the page along with their photo and information about the accomplishments that make them worthy of recognition as trailblazers. A new trailblazer will be featured every Tuesday and the general public is encouraged to nominate female trailblazers from their community. Nominations can be made by emailing the Office of the Special Envoy at [email protected] or messaging the Facebook page at Special Envoy Belize. A trailblazer according to the Office of the Special Envoy is a woman who has “defied great odds to excel in her professional career or in politics; given selflessly as community activists; overcome the hardships of parenthood to provide the best for their children or led the way in non-traditional roles and set great examples for our girls”.

The Guardian Newspaper has joined the campaign to celebrate the accomplishments of trailblazing women of Belize and will be featuring the weekly hero posted on Trailblazer Tuesdays. Here are the Trailblazers for April 8th, April 15th and April 22nd.

April 8th:
Mrs. Marie Sharp is one of Belize’s hottest ladies. She graduated from High School in 1958 and passed the Senior Cambridge exams; at this time there were no Universities in Belize. Before starting her own company in 1981, Mrs. Sharp worked as a teacher in the Elementary Schools for six years after which she worked for the Citrus Company of Belize for ten years ending up as an Executive Secretary. In 1988 with the help of U.S. AID and Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. Sharp attended Clemson University and pursued a course in Food Packaging. In August of 2000 with the help of the Government of Belize, Mrs. Sharp did a course at Samorano in Honduras on Food Processing and undertook a course at BIM in Belize on "Starting and Managing a Small Business". With the help of Chamber of Commerce in Jamaica and Barbados, Mrs. Sharp was able to undertake several courses on Marketing and Good Manufacturing Practices. In her words, “I had to grasp everything that was offered to help me in my venture. I tell everyone that I am a graduate from the UNIVERSITY OF HARD KNOCKS.” This year Marie Sharp’s Fine Foods will be 33 years old. Her products are exported internationally and include places like Japan, Taiwan, Korea, India, China, Germany U.K. Canada, U.S.A. Mexico, Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras. The fiery lady hopes to extend her product lines to Ireland, Dubai, Lebanon, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

April 15th:
Mrs. Sandra Bedran is the first female to serve in general management positions at the Belize Marketing Board, DFC and Atlantic Bank. She continues to be the only female Managing Director of a commercial bank in Belize. Over the years, Mrs. Bedran has served on numerous boards and committees. She was the first female invited to be a Rotarian and has served as Assistant Rotary Governor, Rotary President and as a member of the board. She has also served many years on both the Mercy Clinic and Mercy Kitchen BOD. Mrs. Bedran holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business administration and an Executive Masters in Banking. She is married to Amir Bedran and they have three daughters, Nazle, Bridget and Chandra.

April 22nd:
Mrs. Rossana Briceño is the Principal at St. Peter’s Anglican School in Orange Walk Town; one of the few schools in Belize that offers special education classes. Mrs. Briceño holds a Master’s Degree in educational leadership and has been in the teaching profession for over 25 years. Her first teaching job was at Stella Maris. Her passion is working with special needs students and underprivileged children. Her works includes expanding the Special-ed Center in Orange Walk which now boasts a remedial program at the school. She has lobbied on behalf of the feeding program and continues to fundraise for its sustainability. The feeding program feeds 55 students every day! Mrs. Briceño has made education easier by providing an annual scholarship for a lucky young lady to attend high school. This exemplifies her passion for the empowerment of women through education. Her works have not gone unnoticed. This year, Mrs. Briceño is a nominee for the Outstanding School Leader award in Orange Walk. With her diligent work, St. Peter’s Anglican School has risen from the bottom of the list to one of the most improved schools in Orange Walk and in the Anglican Management.


As an extension of our Women's Empowerment Campaign, every Tuesday we will be featuring a different Belizean woman who has excelled whether it be in her professional career, as a community activist, as a parent, in politics as well as in non-traditional roles. If you know of local trailblazers in your community who should be highlighted, feel free to send us their information so they can be recognized on Trailblazer Tuesdays!