The Central African, Béatrice Epaye, and the Guinean, Marie Claire Tchécola, received the Women of Courage award 2015 on Friday in Washington. Congratulations to these exceptional women for their contribution. Their courage and actions brightly inspire the younger generation.
Since its creation in 2007, the Women of Courage award by the Secretary of State honors every year women worldwide who have showed exceptional courage and leadership by defending women rights and empowerment.
Portraits of both prize-winners as presented by Le Journal de Bangui
Béatrice Epaye is the chairwoman of the Voix du Coeur (Voice of the Heart). This foundation gives refuge to street children confronted with violence from security forces. It also takes care of abandoned children and their insertion. Number of these teenagers ran away trying to escape sexual abuses, sexual slavery or forced marriages. Béatrice Epaye relentlessly militates in favor of better governance, the economy development and the civil society freedom. She also defends human rights and advocates the national reconciliation.
Marie Claire Tchécola, for her part, is the first woman from her family to have gone to school. Native of a small village of Guinea near the Senegalese border, she could have been a doctor but chose to be a nurse because she said, “it enable touching more people“. Only doctors in the biggest hospital of the country were entitled to gloves, and it is exactly this desire of touching, nourishing and taking care that made her contract the Ebola virus while she was treating a patient at the Donka hospital of Conakry in July 2014.Having diagnosed her contamination, Marie Claire Tchécola immediately went to a treatment center, breaking so the transmission chain of the disease and protecting her colleagues, her friends and her family from the infection. Refusing fear and stigmatization while her landlord wanted to expel her from his house, she resumed her work of providing care to the sick in the emergencies of the Donka hospital. Marie Claire Tchécola is an active member of the Association for people cured and affected by Ebola, who act for public sensitizations on Ebola and the fight against stigmatization of the survivors.
Photo: the Cameroonian, Henriette Ekwè, the first African woman to have received this Prize in 2011.
Original text by:Blaise AKAME