Powerful Women International (PWI) has held its first Kenyan women’s empowerment and networking event at the Grand Regency in Nairobi, on June 28. The event was a landmark–PWI’s first ever outside the United States.
PWI CEO and founder Valeri Bocage literally knows what it’s like to create something from nothing. She lived in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck, and she literally lost everything. She began her life over again in the Bay Area in California, at the same time she did Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program.
“I was asking myself what was next for me and my life,” recalls Bocage. “I knew that it was to empower women. I did one event here in San Francisco to see how it would go and women wanted to continue. A few people told me they would follow me wherever I go, all over the world. So I had to create a place to go–And I remembered they did say ‘All over the world!'”
Before the Nairobi event, PWI had held six events in San Francisco and four in Houston. More events are now scheduled for New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Russia and Israel.
The origins of the Nairobi event are rooted in a trip to Kenya made by PWI’s New York Regional director, Jill Duvreuil, who spent six months in Nairobi and there met Grace Gitaka, the founder of the Wholistic Care and Counseling Centre in Nairobi. Gitaki founded the centre in 1994 as a safe place where women in crisis can locate food, shelter and loving support. It includes a clinic for single pregnant women. Wholistic has also opened school for local children whose parents have died.
Through Jill, Valerie and Grace began talking via email a few months ago, and bonded quickly. PWI committed to support Grace with the clinic and school, and Grace became inspired to become the regional director for PWI in Nairoboi.
Grace organized the first ever Nairobi PWI event, which featured speakers including Valeri and herself. Bocage also visited the school and clinic as part of her trip to Kenya, teaching the children about self-esteem. Through her connections to Bocage and PWI, Grace has become inspired to take on the transformation of her entire community, beyond even the clinic and school.
Bocage’s ongoing vision is for PWI to assist women in making their dreams a reality and to alter the world through empowering women.
“I believe when women hear the real life stories of other women who have overcome enormous obstacles to achieve their dreams, they are are inspired to achieve theirs,” she says. “But that’s just the beginning. The purpose of PWI is to connect women and men to support each other in achieving their dreams get that they can achieve anything. It’s life altering.”
Check out Landmark Education News’ first story on Valerie Bocage and the founding of PWI. Bocage and PWI are also looking for supporters or sponsors who wish to assist in making a difference with the Nairobi Project and the PWI Foundation. Interested parties should contact PWI at 415-503-1184.