Woman of Courage Award

During the workshop given at the end of May by Catherine in Kenya on Human Trafficking, UNANIMA International presented its third annual Woman of Courage Award to Therese Stritch, RSM. Sister Therese was nominated for the award by the executive directors of the AOSK (Association of the Sisterhoods of Kenya).

Here are some of the highlights mentioned in the citation which accompanied the award:

Therese is a woman who in the face of violence and difficulties has demonstrated her commitment to women and to the people of Kenya.  Born in Ireland, Therese arrived in Kenya in 1973 and since 1980 she has largely remained in Kenya. She is deeply committed to working with women to help them become self-supporting.

Later Therese joined the Express Community to work with the women of Mukuru slums in Nairobi’s Industrial Area and … developed a permanent skills training centre at Bakhita Primary School where the centre still is.

Now she lives in Lokori, in the heart of South Turkana desert with sand and more sand and continues her work with women and girls along with literacy classes for the shepherd boys in the evenings and separate classes for the local shamba girls.

She has faced violence and imprisonment – experiencing break-ins, car-jacking and most recently imprisonment when demonstrating peacefully for the World Bank cancellation of Kenya’s debt.

We chose Sister Therese for this award because she embodies  qualities which we believe essential for the advancement of women everywhere – solidarity, a passion for human rights, commitment, and courage in the face of power which threatens life.