GL grieves and celebrates Anne Hilton’s life

GL grieves and celebrates Anne Hilton’s life

Date: June 14, 2019
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Thank you Kai (Anne’s only son) for affording GL the opportunity to say something at the memorial of Anne Hilton, whom we count as one of our many sheroes.

Gender Links had an impromptu memorial on Monday 10 June, upon hearing of Anne’s passing on Saturday. We lit candles in ten countries. Since then messages have poured in from our staff, trainers whom Anne worked with and most importantly the women whom she empowered.

Anne was associated with GL for most of the last decade of her working life. She is the brains behind our Sunrise Campaign: Empower Women End Violence. This unique programme recognises that there can be no sustainable solution to GBV without giving women choices. The vast majority of women remain in abusive relationships because they are economically dependent. Using her skills on entrepreneurship (her passion) and knowledge of GBV, Anne crafted a unique programme that has touched the lives of over 2000 women.

These women report increased income and less violence in their lives. Many have progressed to new non traditional areas of work like construction that show their increased agency. We call this our Sunrise campaign because it is a new dawn, a new beginning. We are working with over 100 councils across Southern Africa to roll out the programme. This is Anne’s giant footprint!

But Anne was more than just an activist. She was a sister, a friend, a care bear. She introduced “Muffin Mondays” at GL. She gave brown bag staff talks on financial planning. She was the ever willing team player. Her iconic red lipstick shall forever be remembered at GL!

When GL went through tough times financially Anne never abandoned us. Her last assignment involved helping us to register for SETA. Getting her life skills and entrepreneurship course accredited will be one of her most lasting footprints.

When I last saw Anne she was full of positive energy sure the cancer had cleared. Later she did confide in some members of the team that she had slid backwards. But none of us expected this!

Dear Kai I lost my Mum to cancer at the age of 64 so I have some notion of what you are going through. For years I asked myself why, why, why? What could we have done?

So many questions. So few answers.

One thing I have learned is that good people never die. They go to a better place. And they live on through all of us taking forward their good deeds. Please know that we have a portrait of Anne in our Mme Malepota Conference Room and shall always take inspiration from her. Please know that the Sunrise Campaign lives on and that the women Anne has trained will be her mouthpiece for years to come. At our GL memorial we renewed our pledge to do regular health checks, especially mammograms. I believe that is what Anne would have wanted.

Her ideas and passion for social justice will live forever.

May her beautiful soul rest in eternal peace.

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