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Celebrating Leaders Investing in Women and Girls at ‘Hands Across Borders’ Gala

Published 10/21/2019 by Global Communities

Project Concern International to honor advocates working to empower women and girls in San Diego and around the world

SAN DIEGO—Project Concern International (PCI), Southern California’s largest health and humanitarian organization, will host its 30th annual Hands Across Borders gala on Saturday, November 2, at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla. The event will recognize local and global efforts to help women and girls lead safer, healthier and more productive lives.

“PCI is committed to creating safe spaces and new opportunities that increase women’s and girls’ access to education, health care and the resources they need to build better futures,” said Carrie Hessler-Radelet, President & CEO of PCI. “This year’s gala is about celebrating the progress we’ve made toward reducing gender disparities while also recognizing how far we still need to go to achieve gender equality, both here in the U.S. and globally.”

As part of this year’s Hands Across Borders gala, local humanitarian Julie Tafel Klaus will receive the Anne Otterson Community Connector Award. Ms. Tafel Klaus has dedicated decades of service to organizations like PCI. An esteemed community leader, she supports a range of important causes and organizations, including Pedal the Cause, the Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund and the Salk Institute. She also serves on the board of Spark Ventures.

Other honorees include Bernadete Leal and Yvonne Mwakisyala, who work on the frontlines of PCI’s programs in San Diego and Tanzania, respectively. Leal is a facilitator for Project ROOTS, an after-school program for girls and boys that addresses the root causes of gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and unhealthy relationships through group mentoring and social emotional learning. Mwakisyala is an engineer in Tanzania, where PCI helps break down barriers to girls’ education by building safe water and sanitation facilities for schools throughout the rural Mara region.

More than 500 local business and community leaders are expected to attend this year’s Hands Across Borders gala. The evening will include dinner, a silent auction and live performance. For tickets, sponsorship opportunities and additional event information, visit

About Project Concern International (PCI):  PCI is a San Diego-based global development organization that drives innovation from the ground up to create meaningful and measurable change in people’s lives. Together with our partners, we empower communities to enhance health, end hunger, overcome hardship and advance women & girls. We envision a world in which the most vulnerable people will have the power to lift themselves out of poverty and to create vital, healthy lives for their families and communities now and for the future. Last year alone, PCI impacted the lives of nearly 10 million people in 15 countries, including the United States. For more information, visit