GlobalGirl Media Brings New Voices to AIDS 2012

Three HIV+ South Africa Young Women Covering Meeting as Citizen Journalists

Non-profit trains teenage girls in underserved areas, helping them tell their stories and promote healthier messages about women and girls through media

Jul 18, 2012, 09:45 ET from GlobalGirl Media

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At the age of six, Mandisa Madikane contracted HIV after being raped by a neighbor in Kliptown, a suburb of Soweto, South Africa.  Now 20, Mandisa will be one of three HIV-positive young women from South Africa covering the XIX International AIDS Congress (IAC) in Washington, D.C. this month (July 22-27) as fully-credentialed journalists and recent graduates of GlobalGirl Media (GGM), a non-profit that teaches teenage girls from disadvantaged communities around the world to become citizen-journalists.

Madikane and fellow GGM participants Evelyn Mokele (21) and Sthokozo Mabaso (21) are traveling from Soweto to attend AIDS 2012, under the sponsorship of GGM.  Launched in 2010 in Los Angeles, GGM teaches girls to use print, video and electronic media to give a voice to their unique stories in ways that will build self-esteem, inspire social change and encourage the promotion of healthier media messages about girls and women globally.  Created by a coalition of women broadcasters and journalists from around the world who serve as positive role models, GGM has trained more than 75 young women reporters worldwide, and their work has appeared in a broad range of global media outlets.  GGM now operates workshops in South Africa, Morocco, Los Angeles, California and Chicago.  

As part of activities surrounding IAC, and the invitation of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Madikane will participate in a panel at PEPFAR's "Turning the Tide for Women and Girls" event at the Women's Museum in Washington D.C., on July 25 from 6:30pm-8:30pm. The event will highlight the importance of women, girls and gender equality as part of the global HIV response. During the event, Madikane's short film "MANDISA'S STORY" will be shown.  Earlier in the day at the same location GGM reporter Sthokozo Mabaso will speak on a panel at a Together for Girls event from 11:30am-12:30pm.

"Our aim is to empower teenage girls and young women to own and understand their voice, and that it has meaning in the world," said Amie Williams, Executive Director of GlobalGirl Media. "We provide them with an introduction to the world of citizen journalism so they can bring attention to the experiences and challenges that define their lives and that are too often overlooked by mainstream media."

The three young women traveling to AIDS 2012 will cover the conference through the lens of HIV+ young women, a point of view rarely brought to reporting from this international gathering.  

"The girls who train with GGM are a family, and we all have important stories to tell," said Evelyn Mokele. "When I found out I was HIV positive, I almost gave up on everything.  But instead of letting my status be a death-sentence, I used it as a tool to find my voice, thanks to GlobalGirl Media."  

The GlobalGirl Media South Africa program and their coverage of the AIDS 2012 conference have received support from the U.S. Mission in South Africa and PEPFAR.

About GlobalGirl AIDS 2012 Reporters
Mandisa Madikane's (20) short film MANDISA'S STORY has been accepted into the 2012 South Africa International Documentary Festival. 

Sthokozo Mabaso (21), a graduate of the GlobalGirl 2011 media training program, has completed a year of study at the University of Johannesburg.  Her dream is to have her own non-profit organization taking care of HIV-positive children and AIDS orphans.

Evelyn Mokele (21) discovered she was HIV-positive when she became pregnant at 19, and dropped out of high school.  In addition to graduating from the GlobalGirl 2011 training program, Evelyn returned to high school and graduated in 2012. 

About GlobalGirl Media
GlobalGirl Media (GGM) develops the voice and self-expression of teenage girls in underserved and under-represented communities around the world by training them to become citizen journalists, harnessing the power of digital media to inspire self-esteem and social change. The organization grew out of a coalition of women broadcasters and journalists who recognized that most mainstream reporting focuses on flash points of violence, celebrity or disaster, while the everyday experience and voice of the invisible majority, particularly young women, passes silently under the radar. Since launching in 2010, GlobalGirl Media, young GGM reporters from South Africa, Morocco and Los Angeles have produced more than 125 video features, 180 blog reports and 85 mobile journalism pieces that are distributed internationally through trans-media platforms including web, television, broadcast, cell phones, radio and social media.

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