November 11, 2010

AGYA Co-Founder Divinity Matovu Honored At Glamour Magazine’s 20th Annual Woman of the Year Event

On Monday, November 8, 2010, AGYA Co-Founder, 24-year old Divinity Matovu took a break from the grassroots organizing, curriculum planning, and fundraising to enjoy an evening of glitz and glamour with some of the world’s most pre-eminent female leaders. Held at the majestic Carnegie Hall in New York City, Glamour’s WOTY Event celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Glamour selected 20 “amazing women” in their 20s and we are proud to announce that Divinity was fortunate enough to be among those 20. During a special segment of the event, the achievements of the 20 amazing women were introduced by Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and former President, Bill Clinton.

“The Glamour event blew my mind. It was absolutely incredible to be in the presence of so many powerful, confident, amazing female leaders.” said Divinity, pictured above.

In addition to the 20 “amazing women,” Glamour also recognized the accomplishments and humanitarian work of Julia Roberts, Donatella Versace, Fergie, Cher, and female heads of State, including Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Other heavy-hitting women such as Oprah, Kate Hudson, Diane Sawyer, and Janet Jackson graced the event with their presence. Past honorees include Michelle Obama, Alicia Keys, Madonna, and Maya Angelou.

A major theme of the event was girl’s education, a global issue that is a top priority on Divinity’s agenda for AGYA. In Nakulabye, one of 5 slum communities that AGYA serves, it is not unlikely for teenage girls to drop out of school by 10th grade (Senior 4), become child brides and/or teenage mothers, or exchange sex for food or shelter. Families living in poverty are often confronted with the choice of sending only 1 child to school. Studies show that, if forced to choose between a son and a daughter, families overwhelmingly choose to keep their daughters at home. This is a major problem that must be brought to the forefront of discussions about education and international development.
Check out this amazing video from Girl Effect which highlights the urgency of this issue:

Through a ground-breaking partnership with the Century City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Divinity is doing her part to increase access to education for high school girls living in Uganda’s urban slums. 

“My passion and spirit for the issue of girls education was reinvigorated when I left Carnegie Hall on November 8th. I was so inspired when I heard the Honorable Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia speak about the importance of this movement. I am so excited to be back on the ground in Kampala after several months of fundraising in the United States. I am 100% committed to doing everything in my power to advance this agenda and help girls in Uganda achieve their dreams. Education is the vehicle that these young ladies can use to lift themselves and their families up out of abject poverty. If I can do anything to provide the key, I am confident that these girls can take the wheel and change the world.”

Next month, AGYA will announce 10 young women will receive a full year scholarship for the 2011 academic year to continue their studies. AGYA has specifically focused on high school girls ages 13-17 because comprehensive research shows that this is a critical time period in the lives of these young girls.

It only costs $200 per year (or $16 per month) to keep one of AGYA’s female youth participants in high school. We need to raise $2,000 to reach our goal of providing 20 scholarships in 2012! If you would like to contribute, please make an online donation or mail a check made payable to: AGYA International to 1620 Centinela Avenue, Suite 303, Inglewood, California 90302.