Modern Widows Club Legendary Widow Award Winner

2019 Recipient

Roseline Orwa

Roseline and Carolyn at the 2019 MWC Leadership Conference
The stigma attached to widows in Kenya is overlooked in the country’s strive for gender equality. Traditions used to “purify” the widow further violate women’s freedom with exacerbating health crises in the region. Education and grassroots initiatives are integral to any transformative policies that promote social and economic inclusion.
— Roseline Orwa

Nairobi/Kenya
Roseline Orwa is a force of nature. Roseline is not only a recognized widow-activist and a Global Ambassador for Modern Widows Club, she also serves as the Founder and Director of Rona Foundation and the Rona Orphans and Widows Centre in Wagoma Village, Kenya. She is the first International Affiliate Advocate for Modern Widows Club.

Widowed in 2008, Roseline saw her grief turn to outrage at the ostracization and cultural practices directed at widows. Her outrage turned to action as Roseline helped to outlaw “widow cleansing” in Kenya through legislation, the 2015 Domestic Offenses Bill, protecting widows from cultural “cleansing” practices. She continues to bring awareness to gender inequality in Kenya. Her work at the Rona Foundation provides food, health care and homes to widows while providing education for orphans and training in tailoring to vulnerable youth. Her work has changed countless lives.

In addition to her degrees and diplomas from Daystar University and the Technical University of Kenya, Roseline is a life-long Fellow of the Atlantic Social Economic and Equity Program at the London School of Economics, has trained with the National Democratic Institute for Leadership and Political Negotiations in Advocacy, and currently serves as a Humanitarian Global Goodwill Ambassador. She was awarded the 2019 Global Cultural Influencer Award by Modern Widows Club.

Rona Foundation

IMAGE SOURCE: Jenn Fortune Photography

LEGENDARY
WIDOW ROLE MODELS


Coretta Scott King | January 2021

Civil Rights and Women’s Movement Leader

Veuve Clicquot | February 2021

First business women in the early 1800s to run an international business

Eleanor Roosevelt | March 2021

First Lady of the U.S. and 1st U.S. Representative to the UN Commission on Human Rights

Osa Johnson | April 2021

American adventurer, filmmaker and author

Terri Irwin | May 2021

Naturalist, conservationist, author and owner of the Australian Zoo in Beerwah, Queensland

Julia Child | June 2021

American cooking teacher, author and TV personality

Betty White | July 2021

An American actress, comedian, humanitarian, author and advocate for the welfare and health of animals

Rita Marley | August 2021

GRAMMY-nominated singer also known as the “Queen of Reggae”, author, philanthropist and benefactor of countless humanitarian causes worldwide

C.J. Walker | September 2021

Entrepreneur, philanthropist and the first Black woman millionaire in America

Faye Dancer | October 2021

All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Players Association (AAGPBL) from 1944 until it folded in 1954, electronics technician and business owner

Cindy McCain | November 2021

American businesswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, author and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture

Graça Machel | December 2021

Mozambican politician and humanitarian, the only woman in modern history to have served as First Lady of two countries and elected an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy

Harriet Tubman | January 2022

An American abolitionist and political activist. During the American Civil War, Tubman served as an armed scout and spy for the Union Army. A key figure in the National Women’s History Museum.

Rosa Parks | February 2022

An African-American activist in the U.S. civil rights movement, best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. She was awarded the NAACP 1979 Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Queen Elizabeth II | March 2022

Queen of the United Kingdom. She acceded to the throne in 1952, at the age of 25. She is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch, the longest-serving female head of state in world history.

Jane Goodall | April 2022

Primatologist and anthropologist, she is considered the world’s foremost authority on chimpanzees. Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and named a UN Messenger of Peace.

Mary Oliver | May 2022

American poet and recipient of the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Lady Bird Johnson | June 2022

American businesswoman, investor, and First Lady of the United States. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal.

Dominique de Menil | July 2022

French-American art collector, philanthropist, founder of the Menil Collection. Established the Carter-Menil Human Rights Foundation with former president Jimmy Carter.

Annie Edson Taylor | August 2022

American schoolteacher, first and oldest person to ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Betty Ford | September 2022

First Lady of the U.S., outspoken advocate for women’s rights, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Zöe Keating | October 2022

Canadian-American cellist and composer, TEDMED Talk speaker, Primetime Emmy Awards nominee.

Marie Jordan Speer | November 2022

Founder of Gold Star Wives of America.

Mary Magdalene | December 2022

One of the earliest followers of Jesus of Nazareth.