Awardee 2017: Virginia Wangare-GreinerVirginia Wangare-Greiner is co-founder of the association Maisha e.V. in Frankfurt am Main, a self-help organization of African women in Germany that was registered in 1996.
Virginia was born in Eldoret, Kenya where she gained experience working with disadvantaged girls. She is also a grandmother and mother. Her children live in different parts of the world.
Through the association Maisha e.V., our prize-winner promotes the independence and integration of African women. She coordinates a catering service with African women for friends & organizations around Frankfurt. Sewing courses, kniting and German classes are given to enable women to become financial independent through self-employment.
The concept is to empower one another „to become proud and active members of German society but at the same time maintain our culture and background.“ Maisha e.V. invests to invest money in small-scale businesses for women so that they can generate income because many of them are unemployed. One effect is that these women don't stay at home in isolation and depression, but see a purpose and develop self confidence.
In addition, Ms. Wangare-Greiner helps African women who cannot stay in Germany provide for their future in their homeland, thanks to microcredit. Several projects have been realized in Africa.
In the meantime, Maisha e.V. also offers health counseling for migrant women and their families in Frankfurt, in collaboration with the Health Authority of the City of Frankfurt. Additionally, her day to day work as a social worker championing the health, reproductive rights and family rights of migrant women and African families in Germany underscores her experience in the particular area of human rights.
On the national level, Virginia Wangare has been a member of the Integration Council of the Federal Government & Land Hessen for many years, as well as co-founder and chairman of the European Network of Migrant Women (ENoMW), and an advocator for the equal rights of migrant women.
On an international level, Virginia Wangare has been involved in work concerning the rights of migrant women in various areas and her work addressing various organizations in Europe highlights her concern, knowledge and experience in the field of human rights. Through her responsibilities for Maisha e.V., she has also been involved in the initial research done on the situation of Africans in Germany, conducted by a researcher at Birmingham University.
Our awardee has been a board member involved in the formation of various organizations, notably, the African Diaspora in Europe (ADE) and the European Network of Migrant Women in Brussels. She has had been the privilege of chairing the Boards of both of these organizations. She is also one of the three of and speaker for INTEGRA.
She is a writer, poet and researcher.
Chairperson 1.Vice President Béatrice Portoff