In 2009, Bulleh Bablitch-Norkeh founded Girl Power Africa, a nonprofit organization based out of Liberia, Africa. The mission of the organization is, in the simplest terms, to help West African women who are in desperate need after a brutal, 14-year civil war and the ebola epidemic.
"Girl Power Africa is helping one woman at a time by giving them a hand up allowing them to leverage their economic, educational and social conditions in Africa through education and entrepreneurial opportunities," says Bablitch-Norkeh.
As of today, Girl Power Africa has made it possible for 350 kids to attend school and 259 women to start their own businesses.
To raise money for Girl Power Africa, Bablitch-Norkeh – who is here from Liberia for four months to raise funds for her organization – will host a traditional Liberian dinner on Sunday, Dec. 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. at The Sugar Maple, 441 E. Lincoln Ave.
Tickets are $50 for adults (kids 12 and under are free) and include a multi-course meal and two drink tickets for select beer, wine or kombucha; a Girl Power Africa presentation by Bablitch-Norkeh and a traditional Liberian / African record spin with Paul Cebar.
Bablitch-Norkeh was born in Liberia to a Liberian mother and Wisconsin-born-and-raised father, Justice William Bablitch, who was a Peace Corps volunteer and later a Supreme Court Justice. She attended high school in Oregon, Wisconsin, and later Madison College. She met her husband, Dr. Frederick Norkeh in 1990, and they had three daughters. In 2006, he returned to Liberia and three years later, Bablitch-Norkeh joined him.
She quickly realized she wanted to work to improve conditions for Liberian women and children and so she started doing what she could and became known as "the old lady who helps the women and children."
After the war, many children were left orphaned, families became homeless and women were often forced to work as sex workers to make ends meet. The war destroyed over 80 percent of Liberia’s schools and the devastating ebola epidemic outbreak left many women alone, homeless and without resources to provide for their children. Thus, more than 40 percent of Liberian girls ages 10-14 have never gone to school.
"It’s not a billionaire who is going to change the world, it’s all of us who do a little bit to change the world. There’s no magic, it just takes many hands on board to make the world a better place," says Bablitch-Norkeh. "We are grateful for every little bit of help we get."
Check out the invite on Facebook here.
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.