Angelina Makore is a young activist from Zimbabwe and an alumna of Women Deliver Young Leaders, who escaped a forced marriage at 14! Now her organization, Spark R.E.A.D (Resilience, Empowerment, Activism, and Development), rescues child marriage victims and sexually abused girls and offers psycho-social support to them. Spark R.E.A.D also focuses on reproductive, maternal, child, and adolescent health issues. The organization runs the SparkGirls mentorship program, which links girls from underprivileged backgrounds with established women leaders to help the former find role-models and mentors. Angeline Makore is making a real difference on the ground in uplifting the girls and women in Zimbabwe.
Angeline Makore received The Takeda Young Entrepreneurship Award for her project, Mwedzi Social Enterprise, offering reusable sanitary pads and teaching adolescent girls on menstrual hygiene management.
Angeline was featured in World Economic Forum blog “4 young Africans who are changing the world” and Global Citizen blog titled “5 Formidable Young Women Who Are Shaping Africa’s Future”
Angelina, Could you please tell us about your work in empowering girls in Zimbabwe?
My work in empowering the Girl children in Zimbabwe is anchored by my vision to see girls succeed despite their circumstances. I tailor-make programs to suit various needs of girls in Zimbabwe and beyond, through my organization SparkR.E.A.D .
Some of my work includes but is not limited to advocating for sexual reproductive health and the rights of young girls in order to access correct and adequate information and services about their sexual health. I do this work through collaborative engagements with the community including adolescent girls. I also empower young girls to break the ceilings when it comes to their education – I’m running a program that seeks to encourage girls to venture into STEM careers by paying their high school fees, and mentorship with established women in science and career guidance.
Last but not least, harmful cultural and religious practices infest our communities, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. To combat these practices I speak out against early, forced child marriages and Gender-based violence. I rescue child marriage victims together with gender-based violence victims and offer them temporary shelter, legal, and counseling services. We also raise awareness through community dialogues with leaders such as pastors, traditional chiefs, and local members of parliament. ,
What motivated you to start this work?
My journey started when I was still very young seeing the atrocities and challenges the girls in my community and country were going through and my close experience of narrowly escaping a child marriage. I then decided to do something about it. That’s when I started volunteering in organizations that had a mandate of emancipating girls and young women. I later realized I need to make an impact starting from the grassroots levels and addressing the core problems. That is how SparkREAD, an organization that addresses and redresses the plight of girls and young people, was born.
I was motivated to venture into this work from women activists around the world who are breaking barriers, fighting for women and girls’ rights in the quest for equality. Closer to home, my mother was my inspiration. The way she protected the girl children who were in her care made me realize the power which women possess and how we can harness it for the betterment of society.
What are the major challenges you face in empowering women/girls in Zimbabwe?
Some of the challenges I faced in my work are access to funds and resources to expand the work in different communities, fake promises about partnerships to empower girls, and the difficult political terrain.
Please share some of your achievements and major milestones that you are proud of
One of my biggest achievements was being selected as a Vital Voices Global Partnership VVLead Fellow under upcoming young women leaders. I’m also part of Women Deliver Young Leaders Alumni,, received The Takeda Young Entrepreneurship Award, and was featured in World Economic Forum blog among others.
What would be your advice to budding activists who are not sure how to start?
If you want to they want to help the vulnerable people in the world or start your own projects, programs, or organizations, just go ahead and start doing something. There will never be the right time!
If you want to support my work towards the empowerment of girl children and youth in Zimbabwe you can contact us via our website. We welcome any corporation, foundation, and organization support.