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Delighting in Raro’s kids and helping around globe

Thursday February 21, 2019 Written by Published in Education
Moana Joseph Adams (left), Betty Folliard and Tuakana Tuaine-Okotai at Takitumu Primary school. 19022006 Moana Joseph Adams (left), Betty Folliard and Tuakana Tuaine-Okotai at Takitumu Primary school. 19022006

Betty Folliard is spending her three-week stay on Rarotonga helping students at Takitumu Primary School with their reading abilities as a Global Volunteer, with her friend Gail Kulick.

 

 

From Minnesota in the USA, she is passionate about service to the community and countries worldwide – describing these as mission trips.  “Travelling is important; people are people wherever you go.

“My father always said travel is the best education. People should get out and travel more.”

 “Sometimes we need to get outside of our comfort zone, to shake us out of our complacency.”

She loves the beauty of the island, and the carefree kids, “they give you big hug, they’re a delight”.

Now retired, Folliard is the founder of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Minnesota, an organisation dedicated to equal rights for all women.

In 2014 she organised the We Are Woman Minnesota Delegation (MNDEL) trip to the Washington, DC, rally in renewed efforts to pass the ERA. “We get complacent and that does not make things better for the women around us or the next generation. The goal is the emancipation of women worldwide.”

In 2007, Folliard served as a congressional aide in the office of Congressman Keith Ellison for almost four years, he became the first African-American and the first Muslim to become an elected congressman.

She is the co-owner of Strategy Partners, a business and political consulting firm and has served three terms as a representative legislator.

Folliard has travelled internationally studying the economic status of women in different regions of the world.

Championing equal rights of women, Folliard is tirelessly working on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) international treaty to be passed in the USA.

Of the 193 UNmember states who have signed the CEDAW treaty including the Cook Islands, the following: Sudan, South Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Tonga, Palau and the USA have failed to endorse it.

“Speaking at conferences in the US there are audible gasps of disbelief when audiences hear we have not ratified the CEDAW treaty, people are shocked asking how can this be,” she says.

“We keep working on this, there is movement afoot, we will keep on working, doing democracy from the ground up, until we get that representation.”

Folliard has 2 bills in the Minnesota House and the Minnesota Senate and “there’s just been bi-partisan support’’.

She has also given her time volunteering in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, cleaned water wells and built house in Haiti, and constructed homes for single mothers ffected by AIDS in Mozambique.