Ginetta Sagan Tour Speakers

Ginetta Sagan Tour Speakers

Register now for your city and join Amnesty International for this empowering event about advancing the fight for universal women's rights.

Learn more about our speakers:

Jenni Williams, Zimbabwe - 2012 Ginetta Sagan Awardee
Lydia Cacho, Mexico - 2007 Ginetta Sagan Awardee
Beatrice Mukansinga, Rwanda - 1998 Ginetta Sagan Awardee
Mangala Sharma, Bhutan - 1997 Ginetta Sagan Awardee

 

Jenni Williams, Zimbabwe

2012 Ginetta Sagan Awardee

Jenni Williams - recipient of the 2012 Ginetta Sagan Award - is a women's human rights activist who lives and works in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Jenni Williams, a mother of 3 grown children, has committed her life to protesting, campaigning, and leading peaceful demonstrations. In 2003, she founded the grassroots movement, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), which mobilizes women to demand social justice. The organization, with over 80,000 members, aims to provide women with a united base to speak out, empower female leadership in formulating community based solutions to the current crisis, and encourage women to stand up for their rights and freedoms.

Jenni deeply believes that “the power of love can conquer the love of power,” and she works tirelessly to promote peace and equality for women in Zimbabwe. WOZA is supported by Amnesty International.

 

Lydia Cacho, Mexico

2007 Ginetta Sagan Awardee

Lydia Cacho is a Mexican journalist, feminist human rights advocate, and recipient of the 2007 Ginetta Sagan Award. She was born in Mexico City on April 12th, 1963 and began her career working for the cultural section of the newspaper Novedades de Cancun. This position led to her interest in journalism, specifically researching and exposing Cuban and Argentinian youth prostitution. In 2003, Cacho wrote several articles about the sexual abuse of minors for the Mexican newspaper Por Esto de Genero, beginning her formal investigation surrounding political corruption and the sexual abuse of minors.

In 2005 she took Ms. Cacho took a brave step in journalism with the release of her book Los Demonios del Eden,to expose the sexual assault of children in Mexico. Accusing powerful businessmen and politicians throughout the country, she based her research on statements from alleged victims and video footage captured on a hidden camera. As a result, Cacho was put on trial, threatened, and abducted, resulting in an offer from UN Human Rights Council of political asylum, legal assistance, and access to international courts. Filing a counter-suit claiming the violations of her human rights, Ms. Cacho is the first woman in Mexico who has ever filed a federal suit against a Governor, a District Attorney, and a judge for corruption and attempted rape in prison. Furthermore, in May 2007, she will be the first woman in Mexican history to take a woman's rights case to the Mexican Supreme Court.

Inspired by her investigative work, Lydia Cacho proceeded to found and direct the Refuge for Abused Women of Cancun—a crisis center for battered and exploited women. She has authored six more books about organized crime, the sex slave industry, and child pornography and is president of Women's Assistance—an organization that aids victims of domestic violence and gender discrimination.

 

Beatrice Mukansinga, Rwanda

1998 Ginetta Sagan Awardee

Beatrice Mukansinga is the 1998 Ginetta Sagan recipient who has dedicated her work to assisting women and children in post-genocide Rwanda, she currently works as the Legal Representative and Coordinator of the Mbwirandumva Initiative. Born in Rwanda, Mukansinga escaped the genocide by chance, while on vacation in Kenya, however she did not escape the impact, as her parents and five brothers were killed. In the aftermath she returned and worked for the Barakabaho Foundation, an organization that cares for and places orphans in foster homes. She moved on to organize a support group to allow women and children who had been traumatized, injured, and abused to regularly meet and talk as a part of the healing process. Since the genocide, Mukansinga has dedicated herself to the betterment of women and children in her native Rwanda which has helped heal and reconstruct the country as a whole.

The Mbwirandumva Initiative was founded in 1996 by Mukansinga to deal with the gender issues that arose in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, particularly in regards to the violence against women and girls; Mbwirandumva means, "speak, I am listening." The facilities aim to improve the socio-economic welfare and Human Rights of female victims of violence, in order to facilitate reconciliation and social integration in Rwanda. The organization aids women disabled, traumatized, and left without homes or families as a result of the genocide. Mbwirandumva provides counseling, medical assistance, shelter, food, and life skills to help women heal emotionally and physically thus allow them to become economically self-sufficient. Since its creation, the Mbwirandumva Initiative and Mukansinga's work have empowered hundreds of women and children in Rwanda.

 

Mangala Sharma, Bhutan

1997 Ginetta Sagan Awardee

Mangala Sharma received the first Ginetta Sagan Award in 1997 for her work assisting thousands of Bhutanese women refugees who had been raped, tortured, and shunned by their families. Sharma became a refugee in 1992 as a result of the Bhutanese government's revocation of citizenship rights, which expelled Nepali-speaking Bhutanese citizens. As a refugee, she overcame tremendous obstacles to help women abused and traumatized by civil strife and to educate her own people on the importance of women's rights as human rights. She carried this message to the 1997 session of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) as a representative of the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children.

As a refugee in Nepal, Sharma created an organization, Bhutanese Refugees Aiding Victims of Violence (BRAVVE), which now provides counseling and training in income-producing skills in all eight Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal. In 2001, Sharma was granted political asylum in the USA and worked for the Refugee Women's Network in Decatur, Georgia. Sharma now lives in Roseville, Minnesota and continues to work with refugees from Bhutan, with a focus on recovering victims of violence. She remains a source of inspiration for thousands of refugees and women struggling to overcome abuse.