Glanis Changachirere’s Remarks at the 2013 Democracy Award

I’ve never felt like this before. I want to say thank you to NED: Carl and the team. I respect you so much. NED was our first funder. We started working with volunteers without funding but NED came onboard and they supported my work. This work has grown far beyond ourselves, far beyond the people who are carrying out this work. I want to thank NED so much for the recognition but I want to say that this is not my award. I’m accepting this award on behalf of the brave young women who I work with in the province of Mashonaland Central back in Zimbabwe. Most people would call them poor young women. But for me, they are not poor. They are rich because they have the courage. They are brave enough to stand up and want to fight for their lives, to change their lives.

I also want to receive this award on behalf of my family for eventually accepting me for who I am. It was not an easy journey but today I want to say that the loneliness that I used to feel in the cells, sleeping out at night in the trenches, is gone because my family has accepted that’s who I am and that they need to take me as their child.

I also want to receive this award on behalf of what others would call a partner or a husband. But, for me, he is not a husband. For me, he’s a best friend. He’s a comrade to me, somebody who would call me to check up if I will be getting home in time, lest he starts feeling something has happened to me. Somebody whom I also check on if he’s going out to do his work, if he’s still okay or if something has happened to him. Thank you so much Terrence for being such a comrade and a friend.

I want to say to NED that I’m very much honored and I feel humbled to receive this award. I want to dedicate it to the 31st of July. This is a very important day in the life of many Zimbabweans and this award represents what we want to see prevailing in Zimbabwe after the 31st of July. I will take it with me as a symbol of the strength and the spirit that Zimbabwe needs as we go to the polls on the 31st of July. Thank you