Our Mission Statement

Girl Power Africa is a non-profit organization based out of Liberia, West Africa. Our mission is helping the women and children of Liberia who are in desperate need in a country still deeply affected by the effects of both a recent civil war and an Ebola epidemic. 

​We are helping one woman at a time by giving them a hand up with an empowerment gift of goods to sell. These products give women the power to rise above the economic and social conditions in Africa through entrepreneurial opportunities. ​ 

​We are helping one child at a time with the gift of education. Over 500 children, who are in single-parent households, being raised by relatives, orphaned, neglected, or abandoned, receive hope for their future in the form of a school uniform and educational supplies from Girl Power Africa every year. ​ 

Why We Are Helping

Liberia, West Africa is still under the effects of a brutal, 14-year civil war that left the country in shambles. Then, the recent Ebola epidemic further weakened Liberia’s infrastructure and took many lives. Entire families became homeless, many having to split up to find work. These events have left many women alone, homeless, and without resources to provide for their children.  

The sad truth is many disadvantaged women who find themselves in this position are beaten, raped, abused by men, and often must resort to sex work to make ends meet. ​ 

​During this time, the children have suffered immeasurably from starvation, abandonment, and sickness with no education and no hope. Many children have been orphaned, and depend on relatives or strangers to take them in. The war destroyed over 80% of Liberia’s schools. According to Girl Up, a nonprofit founded by the United Nations Foundation, more than 40% of Liberian girls aged 10-14 have never gone to school. Unfortunately, young girls fall victim to the most frequently reported crimes in Liberia, rape and human trafficking. We can attest that keeping girls in school greatly improves their outcomes as well as protects their vulnerable childhood from these crimes by keeping them in a structured day and going to school. ​ 

How Girl Power started​ ​

Girl Power Africa was born in 2015 on the streets of Monrovia in Liberia, West Africa. ​ 

This organization was started quietly by one woman who saw a need to help other women in need. She is our founder and her name is Bulleh Bablitch Norkeh. ​ 

​ Looking back, we did not know this was a beginning, because no one could have imagined how far we would come and what we were about to do.  Let us start when Bulleh and her husband, Frederick, moved from Minnesota to Liberia in 2006-2009. This journey across the ocean and back to Bulleh and Fredrick’s childhood country of Liberia started when Frederick took a job working for the first female prime minister of Liberia, Ellen Jonson Sirleaf

The newly elected Sirleaf invited Fredrick to travel from Minnesota and join her cabinet with the task of restructuring a country that had just come out of a brutal, 14-year civil war. The adjustment from a comfortable western life in the USA was an eye opener for them.  But, tasked with a duty of country, they felt an immediate connection and could not walk away. What Bulleh witnessed the first 6 years of being back in her home country was heartbreaking. Bulleh was seeing firsthand the toll the civil war had taken on the women of Liberia. ​ 

​ From her small store front location with a street view of Monrovia, Bulleh watched the women navigate their day-to-day lives. She started to ask questions and, in the process, gained their trust. The stories of these women and their struggle for survival unfolded. The tales, were unbearable and seemingly unsurmountable.  What Bulleh soon realized is, without a way to make a living for themselves, there was and would be truly no way out.  So, she and Fredrick started gifting the women selling goods, which allowed them to sell a product and turn a profit to support their families.   

What Bulleh did not foresee was that once word got out of the success of these women, she and Fredrick could not help all the women who started to come to see her for empowerment.  Many often walked from remote villages through the night and waited to see her in the morning.  The stories of the women's journeys to see Bulleh were heart breaking and hard to turn away.   So, in 2015, she started posting on her personal Facebook page and asked her friends if they wanted to help. Well, they did! And, they shared the posts with their friends, too. It, wasn’t long until we realized we were going to need a name as all these new friends were asking Bulleh what the name of her organization was!   It was quickly obvious something amazing was unfurling and we needed not only a name but our own Facebook page to tell the story of what was happening day to day in Liberia.  Shortly thereafter, we set up a website and applied for and were granted nonprofit status in the United States. ​ 

Big things were unfolding and, with the support of her old and new friends, she continued to empower more and more women.  With a background in banking and business, Bulleh made sure the women understood that this was a one-time gift, a hand up, not a handout.  She checked in with the women monthly as she helped guide and teach them to how to succeed. She made them accountable. It turned out that many of the original women who were empowered started to help mentor the newly empowered women.  It was not long until the women were turning a profit and supporting their families.  This chance at an independent life was a gift of a lifetime for them. It would have been previously unimaginable that someone would help teach them a skill that was self-sustaining.  ​ 

Things were moving at great speed and success for our empowered women; however, it was soon evident that, even though the women were supporting their children, there were no spare funds to send them to school. Knowing the importance of education to the children of Liberia, we started to sponsor our empowered women's children for school. Shortly thereafter, we also increased our sponsorships to the most remote villages in Liberia. Since the larger cities are the first to receive aid from larger organizations, these remote villages rarely receive the help they need. Bulleh decided to travel the roads less traveled to reach these children where the aid never would.     ​ 

Won’t  you Join us?  ​ ​

In a country where women and children are often forgotten or abused, our founder decided to give those in the most vulnerable situations a hand up, not a handout. To help teach women a skill and give children an education. Along the way, many of you have joined us and have seen firsthand the impact your donations make.  If you are new to us, we welcome you to join us on this life changing journey not only for the women and children but for you as you experience how this will change your life, as well.  We hope the world becomes smaller and you feel a connection across the ocean to Girl Power Africa, Liberia.  Helping with a hand up allowing them a chance to gain a foothold in their future.  ​ 

​ A Letter from Our Founder

Bulleh Bablitch-Norkeh - Founder of Girl Power Africa

 

Hello Friends,

Here is a little about my very beautiful, but complicated story.

I was born in Liberia by a Liberian mother and a Peace Corps volunteer father, Justice William Bablitch from Wisconsin. My father took me to Wisconsin in 1981 where I attended high school in Oregon, WI and then went on to attend Madison College. I met my husband, Dr. Frederick Norkeh, in 1990. Together, we have 3 daughters. I worked as a mortgage banker for 16 years, spending 13 great years with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. 

Back in 2006, the President of Liberia, (the first female president in Africa) called on my husband to come to Liberia to help with the new government that was rebuilding after 14 years of civil war. He came and I stayed back in the states with the kids. After a few years of being apart, I could no longer handle the space between us and in 2009, I sold our house and we moved to Liberia, West Africa!

Getting settled, meeting the women of Liberia and hearing their horrific stories of war-torn tragedies, rape, prostitution, beatings, hunger, homelessness and hopelessness, I realized I had to stand up and help.

I've been helping girls and women who are in the most hopeless of situations.

I decided that the best way was to offer a hand up and not a hand out.  I help to empower these women by giving them goods to sell. The goods are 100 percent free of charge for them with no strings attached. The only requirement is that they must check in with me monthly with their progress. This project has grown and word is out on the effectiveness of this program. Now I have more demand than what my pocket can produce. That's when I started asking my friends and family to please join me, and Girl Power Africa was born. 

This is very grass roots, I am a total amateur at this, but maybe that's why God put me here.  Many times, I've wondered what in the hell am I doing here so far from my grown children who are back in the states and I do miss all the comforts of America, but it's all starting to make sense as I watch these women succeed. Their stories are so powerful and profound.  

I have the advantage of having grown up in America and have some great friends and family there that have helped to make this happen and get the word out. Also, with my Liberian connection and being able to speak their language, the women open up to me easier. It’s the best of both worlds. 

I’m so proud to announce we are now an official non-profit organization, who knew we would be where we are today!

Thank you for joining me on this journey! Girl Power, making the world a little better, One Girl at a time!

 

Love Bulleh (Boo)