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#518701 - 11/03/16 12:13 PM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
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Belize's Wonder Women! Mrs. Nicole Haylock-Rodriguez

For the month of November we are proud to announce Mrs. Nicole Haylock-Rodriguez is our Belize Wonder Woman!

'Empowered women who reach tough or unconventional positions make CHOICES not sacrifices.' - Kiran Bedi

Ms. Nicole Haylock-Rodriguez serves as the Deputy Coordinator for the National Security Council Secretariat, Belize Ministry of National Security (MNS). In this position, she is CEO George Lovell, MNS right hand. Most recently Ms. Haylock has been charged with heading up the Technical Support Team currently revising Belize’s 2008 National Security Strategy. She has done a fantastic job coordinating with all ministries within the Government of Belize, as well as with other non-governmental stakeholders to ensure that the 2016 National Security Strategy is all-encompassing, as well as enforceable. This most recent task is in addition to her everyday tasks that include overseeing the development and implementation strategy of the Joint Intelligence Operation Center (JIOC).

Ms. Haylock is truly a remarkable woman that is routinely given the most challenging tasks within the MNS. She is the go-to person for various sections within the U.S. Embassy because she is responsive, decisive and has a never-quit attitude that will serve her well in the future as she advances in her career. Apart from her day to day work she also volunteers to help her community and was elected to be the Secretary of the Belize Alumni Association 2016-2017.

U.S. Embassy Belize

#520641 - 01/03/17 12:20 AM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
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Belize's Wonder Women! Ofelia Novelo

For the month of January we are proud to announce that Ofelia Novelo is our Belize Wonder Woman!

“To educate girls is to reduce poverty.”- Kofi Annan

We feature one such individual, one that through her gallant efforts has worked hard to better the lives of women in Orange Walk. We feature Mrs. Ophelia Novelo nee Campos, founder and integral part of the group MAMAS ( Mujeres Ayudando a Mujeres A Superarse (Women helping women to excel) ). Mrs. Novelo is an artisan and instructor born in Orange Walk Town. Possessing the natural ability to care and nurture others, at the tender age of 15, she put her skills to the test and joined the medical field as a nurse at the old Orange Walk Hospital, where she assisted in birth deliveries. At age 18 she met and married Mr. Robert Novelo and they were blessed with five children. In 2005, she formed a group known as MAMAS that provides an outlet for women who wish to become self-sufficient. Training is offered in variety of fields including, but not limited to, sewing, cake decorating, beading and others. The program has graduated over 500 women and by extension touching the lives of thousands. She believes that not everyone has the opportunity or means to attend college or university but they are surely able to learn a skill to become independent, successful and most of all open their own business to be able to provide for their family and themselves.

Presently Mrs. Novelo is a volunteer and vice president of the Helpage group in the Orange Walk District, where she assists in organizing clinics for the elderly.

U.S. Embassy Belize

#521326 - 02/02/17 12:55 AM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
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Belize's Wonder Women! Carolina Verde

For the month of February we are proud to announce that Carolina Verde is our Belize Wonder Woman!

“Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.”- Michelle Obama

Ms. Verde was born on August 6 and grew up in beautiful island of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. She is presently living in Belize City, a single mother of two (2) beautiful kids along with her grandson. She's full time employed at a law firm and also has her part-time business of creating outfits, tutus, hair accessories and more. She is considered to be very ambitious, confident, strong, kind hearted and independent. She is also known to be very caring, friendly, loving and offers a helping hand to anyone. Being a single parent is not an easy task but she pushes very hard and makes sure she provides the basic necessities for her kids. In 2015 her life changed completely, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through Chemotherapy, Radiation and Surgery. She's been a fighter; a survivor; and a woman of strength. Her strong will to live for her family has her going each day.

Ms. Verde continues her battle and is working to empower women that are in her same situation.

U.S. Embassy Belize

Update: Feb 2: Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the San Pedro Town Council and Staff would like to extend its deepest condolences to the Sermeño/Verde family and friends on the passing of Carolina Sermeño Verde. Carolina was a warrior and sure gave a good fight. May her soul rest in peace.

#522040 - 03/01/17 03:45 PM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
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Belize's Wonder Women! Derricia Castillo-Salazar

March is Women's History Month, and we are proud to announce that Derricia Castillo-Salazar is our Belize Wonder Woman! In fact, Derricia is the Embassy's nominee for the prestigious International Women of Courage award, presented annually by the United States Department of State to women around the world who have shown leadership, courage, resourcefulness, and willingness to sacrifice for others, especially in promoting women's rights.

Derricia is one of the highest-ranking women in the Belize Defense Force (BDF) and is an exceptional advocate for women and human rights. She assisted in creating and implementing a BDF HIV Response, spoke at the 38th Meeting of UNAIDS in Geneva, worked as a Conflict Mediator, and is a member of the Caribbean Women's Alliance for Diversity and Equality. Derrica is the Aircraft Maintenance Officer at the BDF and a founding member of the military’s HIV committee, which conducts behavior change campaigns for members of the BDF and the Belize Coast Guard.

Derricia is also a public face and a leading advocate for human rights issues in Belize, particularly LGBTI rights. In 2014, she launched Our Circle, an NGO dedicated to active inclusion of members of the LGBTI community in Belize. Our Circle was born as a result of the obstacles she and her partner, as a lesbian couple, have faced in gaining social inclusion within the structures in Belize.

Despite frequent discrimination, Derricia continues to demonstrate courage and serves as an inspiration to countless women and girls in Belize. Derricia is truly Belize's Wonder Woman and an International Woman of Courage and we are proud of her!

U.S. Embassy Belize

#522799 - 04/04/17 11:38 AM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
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Belize's Wonder Women! Cynthia Ellis-Topsey

For the month of April we are proud to announce that Cynthia Ellis-Topsey is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Cynthia Ellis Topsey was born on January 16th, 1953 in August Pine Ridge, Orange Walk. She is a mother of 5 children and a grandmother to 10 grandchildren. She has been a pioneer in Belize and beyond, from mentoring youth and community leaders to improving the quality of their lives in areas of sustainability and environmental justice issues.

Her passion has been to help people help themselves. As the Champion of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Belize. She has trained and mentored several leaders country wide to aid them in promoting innovative projects such as the preservation of the El Pilar Forest Gardening.

As a Garifuna she intends to promote Garifuna youth leadership by launching the Garifuna Rennaissance of organic farming and restoration of trees through community reforestation. Her motto is building Belize one family at a time. As a woman of the 21st century she considers herself for the world. She rests in the spirit of her spiritual name Ubafu to promote people of destiny and purpose. Her mission, vision and aim is to coach , encourage and mentor anyone who wants to challenge themselves to be the best that they can be.

U.S. Embassy Belize

#523428 - 05/08/17 06:22 AM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
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The 12th Annual Outstanding Women Awards Ceremony was held in late March 2017. Twenty women were awarded in areas such as economic empowerment, youth services, health, social work, education, and culture.

Doña Ernestina Moh of Caledonia, Corozal is the recipient of this year’s “Woman of Culture Award”. Doña Ernestina has been instrumental in the safeguarding of the cultural tradition of Carnaval in her community and Northern Belize. The award was received on her behalf by her daughter Ms. Angelica Moh.

Learn more about the inspirational stories of all twenty women here.

Doña Ernestina Moh of Caledonia Village receives the 'Woman of Culture' Award for 2017

Doña Ernestina Moh was born in 1938. She has been the leader of the Caledonia Village Comparsa Group for over 20 years. Even before becoming the head of the group in earnest, she dedicated much of her life to the teaching and retrieval of the Carnaval tradition and the cultural forms that accompany it. Through her efforts, the Carnaval of Caledonia Village has been maintained, as Caledonia remains one of the few communities in Northern Belize with a living memory of the tradition, songs, music, and belief system that comprise it.

Many students and cultural activists from other communities visit and rely heavily on Doña Tina, as she is affectionately known, for assistance in translating and explaining the Carnaval songs, and to demonstrate the dances. She has trained countless young people in the traditional dance and music of the Maya-Mestizo of Northern Belize; for this she can be considered a cultural icon within her local community. Additionally, her generosity and dedication to the tradition have allowed her, despite her humble background, to arrange for the elaboration of, and donation of the materials required for the staging of traditional comparsas to the school. She has always said, “The little I know, I want to share.... While I am alive, I will do it.”

Consistent with her promotion of this cultural tradition has been her stress on the maintenance of cultural values. Her work has been based in the premise of encouraging positive identity reinforcement among the young people of Caledonia, pride in Maya-Mestizo Heritage, and respect and understanding for the varied cultural and social beliefs and practices that exist within the community, while always advocating for the promotion and maintenance of Carnaval.

#524091 - 06/16/17 01:52 PM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
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Belize's Wonder Women! Ann-Marie Williams

For the month of June we are proud to announce that Ann-Marie Williams is our Belize Wonder Woman!

We feature one such individual, one that through her gallant efforts has worked hard to better the lives of women in the country of Belize. Ann-Marie Williams is the first and current Executive Director of the National Women’s Commission (NWC) since 2008. Ann-Marie recently participated in the highly prestigious The Hubert H Humphrey Fellowship Program focusing on “Trafficking in Persons, Policy and Prevention" at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC. After completing the program, consisting of a year of graduate studies, Ann-Marie received a special certificate. While in DC, as part of her professional development, she worked for a stint at the World Bank on development issues in Knowledge Management. This former television anchor likes being an award-winning journalist best, as it has and continues to broaden her worldview on a myriad of issues, while building her intellectual capacity which is steeped in human rights. Ms. Williams has attended several leadership training institutes; however, her signature achievement came when she was selected from a group of 250 professional women worldwide, a first for Belize, to receive the U.S. Secretary of State Women in Public Service Award (the Hillary Clinton Award) in 2011. She has built a life of service in the Belizean community. As a committed board member of the YWCA for over a decade, she is passionate about improving the world for women and girls because “NOWHERE in the world do women enjoy the same rights as men.”

The U.S. Embassy also congratulates Ms. Williams on another great achievement. On June 11, 2017 in New York, Ann-Marie received an Outstanding Belize award by the Anglican Friends Supporting the Anglican Diocese of Beize, Inc. (FSADB). The award was in Recognition of her dedicated service to Family, Church community and Ministry of the Empowerment of women Worldwide.

U.S. Embassy Belize

#524371 - 07/02/17 06:10 AM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
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Belize's Wonder Women! Deborah Sewell

For the month of July we are proud to announce that Deborah Sewell is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Deborah Sewell is the Managing Director of the Love Foundation--the Philanthropic arm of the nation's largest private radio and television station. Her passion is youth and community development. After living in both New York and Connecticut, where she held executive roles in several nonprofit organizations, Deborah returned to Belize in 2014 to manage the Love Foundation.

Since March 2014, the Love Foundation has developed the Media Arts Academy, an after school program that teaches children, ages 8-13, reading, writing, and math through integrated learning strategies focused on media and journalism; LEAP Academy, (Learning Earning And Parenting) which provides opportunities for young women, who are single parents, under-educated, and living below the poverty line, with the tools necessary to lead productive, self sustained, and crime-free lives. The Love Foundation's motto is “Transforming Lives With Love," which it does through partnership, collaboration, and with donor support. Deborah has been working tirelessly to improve the lives of young Belizeans.

The U.S. Embassy also congratulates Mrs. Sewell on another great achievement. On June 11, 207, Deborah received an "Outstanding Belize" award by the Anglican Friends Supporting the Anglican Diocese of Beize, Inc. (FSADB) in New York.

U.S. Embassy Belize

#524882 - 08/01/17 01:27 PM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
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Belize's Wonder Women! Dianne Finnegan

For the month of August we are proud to announce that Dianne Finnegan is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Since 2010 Mrs. Dianne Finnegan has been the Coordinator of the Youth Apprenticeship Program in partnership with the Ministry of Education. She takes her work very seriously, this sometimes requires her to wear several hats such as “bails bonds-woman”, mother, funeral planner, babysitter, nurse, lawyer and many more. Her job does not end at 5:00 pm nor does it begin at 8:00 am. Sometimes she is awaken at 3:00 am by a phone call from one of her desperate youth, who has been arrested by the police and need her help. Sometimes it’s the hospital calling that one of her youth has been shot. As always, she quickly response and races over ready to help. She has never given up hope on the young people in Belize. Calls, text, visits them and before you know it, they are back in the program.

Mrs. Finnegan dedicates all her time and energy to the young people in Belize and has fought many battles with them but even more for them. Mrs. Finnegan is a true Youth Activist.

U.S. Embassy Belize

#525565 - 09/01/17 02:34 PM Re: Trailblazing Women of Belize [Re: Marty]  
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Belize's Wonder Women! Carol Harrison

For the month of September we are proud to announce that Carol Harrison is our Belize Wonder Woman!

Mrs. Harrison works at the Ministry of Health as Senior Finance Officer. She has been working with the Government of Belize for 31 years in a number of Ministries in various capacities. Mrs. Harrison started her career as a typist at the Police Training School, later became a clerk, and then moved up the ranks by passing internal exams and acquiring additional qualifications locally and abroad. Besides her professional life, Mrs. Harrison is actively involved in church as a lay minister at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. She also served as executive member of the Public Service Union in different capacities. She is the chairperson for the neighborhood watch group in the Police Housing Area and serves on the Pension Committee. Mrs. Harrison is a member of the Belmopan Belchoral Choir. She engages with her community on every level and always goes above and beyond to help the community.

U.S. Embassy Belize

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