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VOA Horn of Africa Reporter Wins Gracie Award


Ethiopia native Mahlet Girma received treatment for breast cancer in California.

Voice of America’s Horn of Africa service journalist, Eden Geremew Bekele, received a Gracie Award this year in the television non-English program category for her television piece, Breast cancer Awareness: The story of Mahlet Girma.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women around the world and the number of cases is increasing in Ethiopia, while awareness about the disease is limited, resulting in many untimely deaths. Although many Ethiopians choose to hide their condition, Ethiopian-born Mahlet Girma of California who came from a family of cancer survivors, chose to share her breast cancer-battling experience through video blogs.

Sadly, Girma lost her battle with cancer in September 2021. However, her vlogs through social media have become a point of discussion in her native Ethiopia, helping break the stigma surrounding the disease and encouraging others to openly discuss it in hopes of saving women’s lives.

“Congratulations to Eden,” said Acting VOA Director Yolanda Lόpez. “I’m so pleased to see her being recognized for her commitment to reporting on this important health issue. Raising awareness about cancer through factual and in-depth reporting is a starting point in the fight against a disease that affects so many people.”

The Gracie Awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, recognize exemplary programming created by women, for women, and about women in all aspects of the media and entertainment industry.

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