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#494627 - 08/15/14 05:02 AM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,808
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This week, Trailblazer Tuesdays brings you Belize's First Female President of the Senate

Born to Victoria Herera and Solomon Cayetano in 1943, Doris June Tomasa Garcia nee Cayetano grew up to attend Sacred Hearth Primary, Austin High and then completed agricultural training in Honduras. As a small farmer she was once a member of the Citrus Growers Association.

Doris June exited her realm of comfort and successfully ran for a seat on the Dangriga Town Council in 1983. She dared to be bold and decided to challenge to be the United Democratic Party’s (UDP) 1984 General Elections standard bearer for the Dangriga constituency. She lost this challenge.

Although she was unsuccessful, Garcia’s loss opened the door to a whole new possibility. The UDP Prime Minister, Manuel Esquivel, offered a once in a lifetime opportunity for her to be the first woman to hold the position of President of the Senate in 1984. She accepted this invitation and successfully served from December 21, 1984 to July 31, 1989. Success in this eminent role was possible because of all support of the Clerk of Court and other mentors around her.

Doris June is a proud Dangrigan with a history of the past and a front seat to the present and future of her community. She continues to play an active role as unofficial historian in the Dangriga constituency of her UDP party.

Doris June spends her retirement days enjoying her two sons and three daughters. She acknowledges the significant contribution of her mother and grandmother in her life. Her mother was very instrumental in rearing her children and this allowed her to become a success as a wife, mother, farmer and politician.

#495124 - 08/28/14 03:09 PM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
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This week Trailblazer Tuesday features a very familiar face; Ms. Ann-Marie Williams.

Ann-Marie Williams will forever be remembered as the intrepid journalist who first exposed Belize’s biggest Immigration/Passport Scandal in 2002 and won her and Channel 5 a Caribbean Broadcasting Union Award (CBU) for Best Investigative Journalism.

The first girl and the middle child of six children, it seems journalism was a natural progression for Ann-Marie. She started working as a young announcer at 17 years old at the lone Radio Station at the time, Radio Belize. She was a quick study and had a meteoric rise in broadcasting having received training to read the major newscasts less than six months on the job. She also produced several programs, among them Women’s World and Fun Time.

In 1988 she was the first to win the Edison Coleman Award for Best Program Production. She completed a Diploma in Mass Communications/Journalism (First Class Hons) from CARIMAC at UWI and went on to do excellent work in Radio, TV and Print. Ann-Marie was among the first set of news anchors who read the nightly news on Channel 3, at Radio Belize and then at Channel 5, in addition to covering the beat. In 2003, she also edited the weekly Reporter Newspaper and broke several stories in the process. A woman of many talents and firsts, she started the newscast on KREM Radio in 1995 where she single-handedly gathered, wrote and read the news for a year.

While she feels that journalism is the best career, she never did her post graduate studies in that area. Instead, Ann-Marie pursued her other love—women ‘s advancement. She graduated from the prestigious Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in the UK in 2000 with a Master’s Degree in Gender and Development. She returned home, went back to Channel 5 to continue her investigative work and in 2002 she blew the Immigration/Passport Scandal, story straight out of the water.

In 2008 she took up her other passion. She became the first Executive Director of the National Women’s Commission (NWC). Williams turned around the work and profile of the NWC. Her leadership at the policy advisory body to GOB on issues affecting women brought about the first of its kind Women in Politics Project which has trained 98 women for politics with incremental success. In 2011, she was the first Belizean to receive the Women in Public Service Award (the Hillary Clinton Award) as part of a group of 50 women from among 250 nominated by former U.S. Ambassador to Belize, Vinai Thummalapally.

Williams serves both the YWCA and Partners of the Americas as a board member. She holds fast her Methodist faith and serves her Church in many capacities. This divorced mother of a U.S. Marine would like to be remembered as someone who always gave her very best, without fear or favour.

#495414 - 09/06/14 04:57 AM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Trailblazer Tuesdays proudly presents Belize's First Governor General, Dame Elmira Minita Gordon!

Dame Elmira Minita Gordon became Belize’s first Governor General and the Queen’s representative when Belize got its political independence in 1981. The independent Belize’s constitution allows for a Belizean citizen to be appointed by the Queen, on the advice of ministers in Belize, to be her in-country representative with day-to-day executive powers. Dame Minita held this highly esteemed position for twelve years.

Born and raised in Belize City, Elmira Minita began her education at St. John’s Girl’s School and St. Mary’s Primary. Her professional education was done locally at St. George’s Teacher’s College and enhanced with a course from the College of Preceptors, Oxford, England. She pursued postgraduate education at universities of Nottingham and Birmingham in England, the University of Calgary in Alberta Canada and the University of Toronto, Canada. Minita became Belize’s first Belizean trained psychologist when she returned to Belize in 1980.

Dame Minita has many interests and many achievements. She was a passionate member of the girl guides from 1946 and once held the position of District Commissioner of the Girl Guides. She became a Justice of the Peace in 1974 and received lifetime membership of the British Red Cross in 1975. Her feats have graced the pages of Belizean history and are a shining example for many aspiring, hardworking women.

#513052 - 04/13/16 11:22 AM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
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BELIZE'S WONDER WOMEN! The Women Who Help Make Belize Great!

Last month we announced that each month we will highlight individual stories of Belizean women from all parts of Belize doing their part to make this country great.

To kickoff this campaign our first Belize Wonder Woman will be none other than Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow!!!

Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, wife of the Prime Minister and Special Envoy for Women & Children.

Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow is the wife of the Prime Minister of Belize, the Right Honorable Dean Barrow and Belize’s Special Envoy for Women and Children and Global Ambassador for Special Olympics since 2008 as well as the Founder and Director of the Lifeline Foundation, which raises thousands of dollars annually to aid disenfranchised children. Her two major projects as Special Envoy for Women and Children are a Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit constructed at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and The Inspiration Center which offers healthcare and therapy for children with disabilities.

Her efforts to raise public awareness on the commercial sexual exploitation of children includes successfully advocating for the passage of two pieces of legislation to strengthen protection for victims of sexual violence and human trafficking as well as an amendment to the Criminal Code for harsher penalties for perpetrators of sexual offences. Mrs. Simplis Barrow has co-written two booklets on sexual abuse prevention and produced multi-lingual educational videos. She has also hosted national conferences on ending commercial sexual exploitation of children and ending all violence against children. She later produced a Children’s Rights Activity Book entitled Having Fun with Rights. In her efforts to improve the situation of women entrepreneurs in Belize, Mrs. Simplis Barrow focus groups and consultations countrywide and hosted the National Call to Action Conference on Women and Girls’ Financial Health as well as a global First Ladies Conference in New York. Under the 20,000 STRONG Women’s Empowerment campaign, two national rallies were held to uplift women and in 2016, the event was used to unveil the 20-4-20 Women’s Economic Development Program.

U.S. Embassy Belize

#513541 - 05/05/16 12:34 PM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Belize's Wonder Women! Margarita Mena

We recently announced that each month we will highlight individual stories of Belizean women from all parts of Belize doing their part to make this country great. For the month of May we are proud to annouce that Mrs. Margarita Mena is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Margarita Mena started “KLIC” (Kids Learning Imagining Creating) in her backyard patio for community preschoolers. Her school has grown in attendance is such a way she built a classroom in her backyard. Her teachings are much diversified and include field trips throughout Belize to teach her students about the beautiful country of Belize. She always has parties to celebrate holidays and to teach her students the meanings behind the holidays. Margarita makes learning fun for her students. Margarita has always gone above and beyond to help one and all without any hesitation. Her willingness to help others is one of her most outstanding qualities. Her latest accomplishment was participating in the 2016 La Ruta Maya. She is a fearless competitor and never gives up.

U.S. Embassy Belize

Belize's Wonder Women! Roxy Aleman-Richard

For the month of June we are proud to announce that Mrs. Roxy Aleman-Richard is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Roxy Aleman-Richard started her banking career in 2006. Growing up in a family business from a young age gave her exposure to hard-work, financial figures, customer service but most of all connecting with people which has been my greatest passion and the one of the most important component of my success. She started as a Personal Banking Officer at Scotiabank Belize Ltd and went up the ladder to now being the Belmopan Branch Manager. Her greatest resource is her staff and therefore her drive and passion is the development, engagement and upliftment of her staff as persons in leadership roles and in their career paths. She strongly believes in inspiring her staff, leading by example and encouraging them to believe in themselves and that the sky is the limit. She maintains an open door policy to her staff, very open to feedback and provides ongoing coaching opportunities to elevate all staff to higher level. Motivating her staff through reward and recognition for their daily accomplishments has also been instrumental in driving their performance. All her staff are valued and appreciated for who they are and their innermost talents are developed to build self-confidence. She loves to serve her community. Her family has a passion for working with churches, social organizations, schools, under-privileged children, youths at risk and senior citizens. Working with these groups gives her a connection with the community and a sense of self-accomplishment in her personal life by giving back to others what God has blessed her with. It adds value to her family and gives her an opportunity to give our love and support to others that form a part of their lives.

She is a fearless leader and never gives up.

U.S. Embassy Belize

#516240 - 07/26/16 01:11 PM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,808
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Belize's Wonder Women! Ms. Elisa Castellanos

For the month of July we are proud to announce that Ms. Elisa Castellanos is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Elisa Castellanos wears many hats but is for sure a Leader. She is most passionate about her human rights advocacy work as the founding Executive Director of Tikkun Olam Belize - a non-profit organization that defends the rights of women sex workers and works toward the decriminalization of sex work through social and political activism, community building, and civil engagement. Tikkun Olam aims to provide education with sexual health, human rights, personal, economic empowerment skills and training programs to catalyze civil engagement as a strategy to social and political advocacy for the human rights in Belize. Elisa Castellanos is a firm believer in the fight for social justice and also seeks to stimulate empowerment by choice for women in Belize through their relentless work to develop programs that have lasting and meaningful impact on the lives of women and their self-actualization.

U.S. Embassy Belize

#516241 - 07/26/16 02:34 PM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 52
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She's an amazing young woman doing great work! Well deserved recognition.

#516797 - 08/12/16 05:42 AM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Belize's Wonder Women! Mrs. Maria Esther Morales

“We are braver and wiser because they existed, those strong women and strong men... We are who we are because they were who they were. It's wise to know where you come from, who called your name.” – Maya Angelou

For the month of August we are proud to announce that Mrs. Maria Esther Morales is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Maria “Esther” Morales was born in El Salvador, but moved to Belize as a small child. Though Esther was unable to complete her formal education, she worked hard to learn to read and speak English and earned a living as a domestic worker cleaning houses and taking care of children. Esther’s love for children is apparent in her work and the children she cares for thrive under her care. Though Esther loves her work with children and has built a strong reputation as a domestic engineer among the families she works with, she is strongly committed to the well-being of her own three children. At home, Esther’s husband is often required to travel for work for long periods, and to fill the gap Esther works full time and maintains her home. Knowing the importance of the opportunities a good education provides, Esther has done everything in her power to further her children’s education. Esther personally lobbied a local high school to gain admittance for her son after a series of schools rejected him due to space limitations. Due to her perseverance, and many in person visits, her son will be attending high school this fall. Esther is also proud of her younger daughters who are excelling in primary school. Esther is a stellar example of the many unsung wonder women that quietly go to battle everyday to secure better futures for themselves and their families. — with Esther Morales.

U.S. Embassy Belize

#517277 - 09/01/16 01:38 PM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Belize's Wonder Women! Ms. Jacklyn Burns

For the month of September we are proud to announce that Ms. Jacklyn Burns is our Belize Wonder Woman!

"A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman." —Melinda Gates

Ms. Jacklyn Burns was born on October 25th 1976 in the then new village of Hattieville, Belize. Ms. Burns spent her first decade in the Toledo district where culture, etiquette and neighborly relationships were heavy focuses. At age ten, Ms. Burns, the second of six children moved, with her family, to Belmopan where she attended the Belmopan Junior School, Belmopan Comprehensive School and UCB- Belmopan Junior College. She pursued an Associate’s degree in English and after graduating with this qualification, she became a high school teacher at the Corozal Community College. She later transferred to Belmopan Comprehensive School where she still currently teaches. Ms. Burns has taught subjects to include Caribbean History, Religious Studies, Social Studies, Life skills, Literature and English. She enrolled at the University of Belize as a part time student and pursued a Bachelor’s degree, also in English. She graduated Magna Cum Laud in January 2010 and has since served the University as an adjunct lecturer in the English Department.

Ms. Burns is the Head of the English Department at her school, a counselor at the Belmopan City Council, the Chairlady of the Math and English Association for Government Secondary Schools, a member of the National Celebrations Commission and a poet. She enjoys reading, travelling and family time. Her favorite writers are Maya Angelou, Kahlil Gibran, Alysia Harris and Sista Souljah. A quote she lives by is that “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” Khalil Gibran. Jackee, as she is affectionately known has two children and her favorite of all her pastimes is spending quality time with them.

U.S. Embassy Belize

#517976 - 10/03/16 11:35 AM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Belize's Wonder Women! Senior Pastor Antonette J. Young

For the month of October we are proud to announce that Senior Pastor Antonette J. Young is our Belize Wonder Woman!

‘The empowered woman is powerful beyond measure and beautiful beyond description.’ Steve Maraboli

It all began with self-determination, values, self-worth and persistent. Mrs. Young knew at a very young age she had a special calling. Migrated to Chicago, Il. at a very young age (17) and resided there for 29 years. During her time in Chicago she was privileged to pursue her career in the medical field as a certified medical assistant and a medical laboratory technologist. She worked at a medical lab as Manager and Clinic Coordinator. In 2000 she moved back to Belize as a Volunteer Missionary to reach people in need. She is the founder and director of Parents Against Drunk Drivers, J & A AIDS a Foundation and Papi's Practical Rehabilitation Program in Orange Walk Town.

In 2003 she became an ordained licensed Pastor of United in Christ Evangelical Church until present. Throughout the years she has learnt to appreciate people and learn to love them as Christ commanded everyone to do. In addition to all the above, once a week, she prepares and delivers meals on wheels to 64 families throughout Orange Walk Town. She has no financial support but by the grace of God she meets her daily obligation to the people in the communities. She also volunteers at the OWPD as their Chaplain.

Ms. Young is Counselor in marriage, teen age runaways, drug and alcohol addicts, troubled teens, domestic violence and human trafficking victims and is also the US Warden for Orange Walk Town for the past four years. She will continue to have a servant's heart and will continue to love and serve people and it does not matter what gender, creed, color or race.

U.S. Embassy Belize

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