About the Girl Child Network Worldwide!
Woman and girls everywhere who have been battling those who abuse us, take advantage of us and hurt us physically and psychologically.
• We don’t call ourselves victims — we have come to know our rights.
• We have learned to stop the abuse and we’re now reaching for our dreams.
• We include many supporters in our network:
• People who feel the pain when one of us is assaulted or trafficked.
• Men and boys who agree we should not have to face violence.
• People who stand up for our cause by donating.
Betty Makoni founded the Girl Child Network (www.gcn.org.zw) in Zimbabwe in 1998. She and 10 high school girls established a girls club in a local high school to combat the kind of terrible sexual abuse that Betty herself had undergone and that many girls were enduring from teachers, relatives, and even, officials. They marched across the country; they organized campaigns to teach girls their rights; they built empowerment villages to enable abused girls to heal and support each other.
An estimated 60 000 girls are members of the Girl Child Network Zimbabwe and thousands of girls have been transformed from so-called victims into survivors and leaders. With over 700 girls clubs in, 80% of the members live in remote parts of the country. Despite overwhelming obstacles, including threats, detention and smear campaigns, Betty Makoni and the group continue to champion the rights of the girl child today in Zimbabwe and beyond.
In early 2009, Betty Makoni teamed up with Priscilla Nyathi, a longtime domestic violence activist who has helped minority girls and women find justice in the court system in Essex, UK. Together they set up the Girl Child Network Trust Fund UK with help from international partners. The GCNTF is fast gaining support in the UK and around the world. Many individual women and girls are mobilizing in small groups to determine how best to support each other.