Hazel Magdalene King – Barbados

Linked with The African Methodist Episcopal AME Church.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “Women spreading bridges of peace, solidarity and fraternity contributes to reaching the supreme values of justice” … and: “I called other women so that they could learn the skills of cake icing and handicraft that I used to make a living”.

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Sorry, I can not get any photo of Hazel Magdalene King, Barbados (see also my comment ‘Brave women without photos‘).

She works for Hazel’s School of Arts and Crafts (no website, not named on other websites). She works also for the African Methodist Episcopal AME Church.

She raised her two children alone and took care of her mother while enduring her husband’s abuses. When she was laid off from a restaurant in Bridgetown, Barbados, she understood that her hands could work miracles. Hazel Magdalene King lifted up a flag: self-employment for self-sufficiency. She invited other women, taught them how to make cake icing and handicraft. She underwent radical breast cancer surgery, but she did not stop. She has never stopped. Hazel inspires other women in the Service for the Support for Cancer.

The life of Hazel Magdalene King can be summarized in a word: challenge. Her work in the community was accelerated in 1988 after her mother, who she took care of, died at age 87. When she said ‘enough’ to her husband’s abuse, she intended to recover her life and to maintain her two children by herself. They had already laid her off from a restaurant in Bridgetown.

The classes began in the kitchen of her house with five students. In the following year, they no longer fit in her small wooden house. In the same year of 1988 ‘Hazel’s School of Arts and Craft’ was already a reality. Among the five students, two began their own business making cakes and the rest joined Hazel as teachers in her school. The courses were diversified to include: pastry making, dress-making, production of flowers and other crafts. They used recycled materials such as plastic bottles, wooden scraps, etc.

Hazel is self-sufficient and has trained other women so that they could also be self-sufficient. Her method of teaching is practical and she has extended it without the government’s financial help. The school is maintained by corporate donations, donations from students and the revenues from the sale of articles made at the school by Hazel herself.

But for her, this was not enough. She offered to work voluntarily as a teacher in several primary and secondary schools and she worked on several self-help community projects to empower women. Private Schools also invited her to teach their students manual arts.

The Government of Barbados, through its Ministry of Social Transformation, has honored her for the contribution to the development of the community of Boscobelle, St Peter.

Another love captured her life: the work in the Church. She is a member of the African Methodist Episcopal AME Church, St Michael, in which she has had several responsibilities. Her voice has been heard in local and regional conferences, at the same time that she distributes foods and donates clothing to those who need it.

At present she is the president of the Women’s Missionary Society and, three years ago, she took on the tremendous challenge of accepting the invitation to carry out missionary work in Haiti, for three months. “I don’t speak French but there are other ways to communicate”, she says smiling. Her mission was a success. And she does not stop: she is also a trustee and the Treasurer of the Sealy Memorial of the AME Church.

“A strong pain invaded my chest in 1995, I could never have imagined what would come next”. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and she underwent a mastectomy on October 25th, 1995, the day her first granddaughter was born. She endured the subsequent radiotherapy. Now, she is a consultant in the Barbados Service for the Support for Cancer and she has become a paradigm for the victims of this illness, in Barbados. Her voluntary work encourages, strengthens and conquers.

Hazel King personifies generosity. She has a firm commitment with the ideal of progress through the invigoration of people, mainly women. Many of them, in their community, after knowing her, have continued as self-employed workers. For that reason, today, in her hands filled with cake, she continues waving the same flag: self-sufficiency dressed as a woman. (1000PeaceWomen).

Hazel Magdalene King est née à la Barbade en 1939. Pendant de nombreuses années, elle fut victime de mauvais traitements dans son mariage, jusqu’à ce qu’elle rassemble son courage pour mettre fin à la relation.

Pendant les années 80, la situation économique de la Barbade était instable. De nombreuses compagnies licencièrent leur personnel. L’insécurité régnait, principalement pour les couches les plus nécessiteuses. La plupart des gens dépendait de l’aide du gouvernement. Les femmes commencèrent à réaliser qu’il y avait la possibilité d’être autosuffisante.

En 1988 lors de son licenciement, elle se retrouva seule avec ses deux enfants. Elle regarda ses deux mains et pensa : “Il est temps d’utiliser mes capacités de glaçage des gâteaux et d’artisanat pour gagner ma vie.”

Elle a compris que la meilleure chose serait de partager ses expériences avec d’autres femmes qui, comme elle, n’avait pas d’aide. Bientôt son désir devint réalité. En 1988 elle créa dans la cuisine de sa propre maison l’Ecole d’Hazel pour l’artisanat. Dans l’année qui suivit, son petit logement ne fut pas assez grand pour toutes ses étudiantes. Elle voulait devenir autosuffisante et elle y parvint ; elle forma de nombreuses femmes afin qu’elles puissent à leur tour devenir indépendantes.

Mais il y avait un autre amour dans la vie d’Hazel : l’Eglise. Elle est membre de l’Eglise méthodiste épiscopale africaine. Elle a exercé plusieurs responsabilités au niveau local, incluant la distribution de nourriture et de vêtements aux nécessiteux. Elle devint présidente du département missionnaire et, il y a trois ans, elle releva le défi de développer le travail missionnaire en Haïti. On lui diagnostiqua un cancer du sein en 1995. La chirurgie radicale lui fut appliquée la même année. Elle utilisa son expérience pour stimuler et encourager les autres femmes dans le Service de soutien pour le cancer. (F-Information, Genève).


F-information – Genève;

Sorry, I can get no other information of Hazel Magdalene King, Barbados.

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