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Together with Africa: Wangari Maathai, witness to hope

September 28, 2011Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Laureate; environmentalist; scientist; parliamentarian; advocate for social justice, human rights, and democracy; elder; and peacemaker, died on September 25 at the age of 71, after a long struggle with ovarian cancer. She lived and worked in Nairobi, Kenya.

Professor Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, encouraging women in rural Kenya to plant trees as a means of improving their livelihoods through better access to clean water, firewood for cooking and other resources. Since then, the Green Belt Movement has mobilized hundreds of thousands of women and men to plant more than 47 million trees, restoring degraded environments and improving the quality of life for people in poverty.

The Nobel Women Peace Laureates called her “a true visionary whose work and life served as a powerful example to women everywhere. She showed us that the eradication of poverty, the empowerment of women, and a sustainable future for our planet are all essential building blocks of a more just and peaceful world. She lived her belief that all of us have a role to play in creating sustainable peace.”

The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns joins people around the world in celebrating her witness to the power of vision and hope.

Read more about her inspiring life here.

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