The Belize City Council has awarded eleven women for their contributions to their communities. It is an event that has once more highlighted the work of women during women’s month. Mayor Bernard Wagner and Councilor in charge of the portfolio for women and children, Candice Pitts say it was time to recognize women who have labored tirelessly to improve their communities and who have remained unnoticed until now.
Bernard Wagner Mayor of Belize: “The Council felt also that many of times our women in our society and our communities have not been acknowledged for the great work they have done over the years and this is just a continuation of acknowledging those women particularly given the fact that this month is recognized as Women’s Month.”
Candice Pitts Counselor, Belize City Council: “Many of these women have helped to lay the foundation and paved the road for many of us in society and we believe that they should be acknowledged. The requirements for the selection of the sheroes were very specific: we asked the Area Representatives who are the Standard Bearers to select women who have made contributions but who have not been acknowledged by our society as yet and so the Belize City Council takes on this initiative to acknowledge these women and the contributions that they have made to our society. Many of these women have been lifelong educators, small business owners, contributors in political parties, party stalwarts, housewives, wives, mothers have that helped to raise children that are contributing to our society and they themselves have continued to contribute to our society.”
Among those awarded are Maria Requena who has been a preschool teacher for over forty years and Olga Gordon, who has been a community activist for nearly all her life.
Maria Requena Awardee: “It was a surprise for me.”
Dalila Ical: “How do you feel for being recognized for work that I think you do willing?”
Maria Requena Awardee: “Well I feel happy about being recognized as a school teacher.”
Dalia Ical: “How many years?”
Maria Requena Awardee: “44 years.”
Dalila Ical: “Could you share what has encouraged you to do this year after year for all this time?”
Maria Requena Awardee: “Well you know I have been teaching for so long and I think the little children encourage me because every year you meet new children, new parents and that keeps me going.”
Olga Gordon Awardee: “It is a warm feeling to know that your hard work was not in vane. I have been doing this work for thirty years without recognition and I always felt like well you either quit or you continue and knowing that somebody out there has seen the good work that I have done is an exciting feeling, it is a warm feeling. I went to live in the St. Martin’s Area which is now Lake Eye in 1979. The area was not developed and I met the then late Miss Eva Middleton who started to do some work behind there. She asked me to join her and joining her was like ugh, this is hard work. Well I got with her and we did it: we helped with streets, drains and different stuff like that and then she decided that we wanted a community center, a preschool, stuff like that so we worked towards that. All these years I have been working doing community service, working in the area, still working out because I was still working out. I tend to my kids and stuff like that so it was a task but to know that I could have put a smile on somebody’s face I felt good about it. I continue to work now, I do work with senior citizens and I do home visits. I am community health worker so I do home visits with them and with older people and putting a smile on their face makes me feel good. When I get home sometimes I am tired but I know that someone has smiled that for an elder person I have made a day for them by hugging them, by talking with and by making them feel good because that helps me feel good. As long as I have health and strength, as long as I can walk and I can go I want to continue to do community service.”
The women were all issued a plaque and treated to lunch at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina.