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Woman from San Ignacio recognized by the United States Embassy Print E-mail
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Thursday, 05 April 2018 00:00

U.S. Embassy Belize recognized Staff Officer Rhea Rogers as the U.S. Department of State International Women of Courage award nominee for Belize and Ms. Anna Silva as the Embassy’s Woman of the Year 2018. Both awards were presented at the 13th Annual Outstanding Women’s Awards Ceremony hosted by the Office of the Special Envoy Belize and the Women’s Department on, March 28, 2018 at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel.

The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award annually recognizes women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk. Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honored over 120 women from more than 65 different countries. Staff Officer Rhea Rogers was chosen for her tireless advocacy for women’s full participation in Belize’s development and promoting equity and equality for Service Women in Belize.

The U.S. Embassy’s Woman of the Year award started in 2010 and celebrates the achievements of remarkable women and the causes to which they devote their lives. A press release from the United States Embassy states: We chose Ms. Anna Silva as this year’s Woman of the Year for her lifelong commitment to empower women and girls, inspiring accomplishments, and notable contributions to her community.

These awards represent part of a larger U.S. effort to promote gender equality and empower women and girls in the United States and abroad. In his proclamation for Women’s History Month, President Donald J. Trump stated: “Women are leaders in a range of fields, from business and medicine to government and the arts. And America is committed to create conditions that empower women to achieve even more.”

March was Women’s Month and the United States Embassy has announced that Mrs. Anna Silva is our Belize Wonder Woman as well as Woman of the Year 2018! Mrs. Anna Silva is a mother of three children, has two grandchildren, and is the co-founder of Mary Open Doors, established in February 2008. Mary Open Doors was one of two emergency shelters in the entire country of Belize when it first opened its doors in San Ignacio Town. Mrs. Silva draws from her experience working in the NGO community. For a number of years, she was the CEO of Cornerstone Foundation. She is someone who takes action to respond to social issues and is motivated by her passion to serve others. Mary Open Doors became Mrs. Silva’s vehicle to address the scourge of domestic violence in Belize. She, herself, is a GBV survivor.

Silva, affectionately known to everyone in her community as “Ms. Anna,” has a profound commitment to serving those who are most vulnerable. Her passion to reach underserved populations in Belize cannot be more evident than through her role at Cornerstone Foundation when the organization partnered with UNICEF in 2006 to address children affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Belize. She strongly believes in community led efforts and utilizes her skills to mobilize people to address social issues afflicting children through UNICEF and other organizations.

Ms. Anna is driven by optimism, and remains positive in spite of the many challenges her organization faces. She has invested her personal time and money to help families through Mary Open Doors. Her approach is not simply to place a Band-Aid on the problem but to chip away at the issue until it is resolved.

Ms. Anna strongly believes in caring for those who are most at-risk and remains committed to the plight of women and children affected by domestic violence in Belize. Her organization’s mission is her guiding path to her approach to working with families. As a survivor herself, Mrs. Silva is one of Belize’s unsung heroes and an inspiration to women who are currently in abusive relationships.