I hope that your week is going well. Today, I want to talk about a super heroine of mine.
Dr. Wangari Maathai she was born in a small town in the East African country of Kenya. Even though it was hard for a girl to get an education in this area, she completed grade school, flew to the USA and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, a Master’s Degree in Biological Sciences, and a PhD in Anatomy.
She used her love for science and nature to start the Green Belt Movement in 1977. Women involved in the GBM have planted more than 10 million trees since 1977 which has helped to restore the soil in Kenya after immense deforestation.
Dr. Maathai was the first African woman to earn the Nobel Peace Prize. She earned this honor for her contribution to “sustainable development, democracy, and peace”.
She received honorary doctorate degrees from 13 universities, in Kenya, the USA, Norway, and Japan. She also received over 55 awards in her lifetime, such as the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights from South Africa and the Indira Gandhi International Award for Peace from India. Dr. Maathai was voted one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine and one of the 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes Magazine.
Sadly, Dr. Maathai passed away in September 2011. Fortunately, her legacy continues. The Green Belt Movement has published a Community Classroom curriculum through PBS including lesson plans, handouts, and videos for grades 9-12 (or ambitious&talented younger students).
Please make use of this curriculum to expand your students’ social, environmental, and cultural awareness.