How does one flame transform the darkness? By sharing her light with the others around her.
We see that transformation happen in the connections that women in our global community forge with one another. From across the world, women in the Iraq signature programme were inspired by the messages of hope sent by our sisters in the Nigeria programme. They, too, wanted to share their own experiences of finding strength and resilience despite this difficult pandemic.
You – across the world – are also part of that light. As you will see from many of these messages, the support women receive from the global sisterhood has prepared them for crisis. Though emergency changes to the programme and suspension of trainings make it difficult to collect and share letters, we still believe that connections are how we create hope together.
“I have always believed in myself and was a confident person, but I didn’t have a lot of knowledge and information because I was always at home, I was always tired and become angry very easily. After I joined this programme, my level of knowledge increased. I learned how to defend my rights, solve my problems, support my family when we are facing a problem. I learned how to negotiate. I also learned how to save money.”
“I am wishing you good health and hopefully your country will be free of coronavirus soon and your normal life will resume. So far I have learned a lot form the classes including valuing and respecting each other, it gave me a chance to be able to get out of my house, the lockdown has been difficult on me to be away from my friends and the wonderful trainers.”
“Thank you so much for supporting me, during the lockdown I was making flowers for cloth decoration. I am very happy because I am a participant in this programme. I am wishing you never ending happiness because you make us happy.”
“Before this programme my life was staying at home, looking after my husband and children. I had very limited social connections, but after joining this programme, my social network expanded, I have learned a lot of things such as how to manage household finances, save money for emergency also how to solve problems in order to keep my family a happy one. I am asking God to protect you and your family from this virus and look over you.”
“Before I attended the programme my life was boring, and always I felt my time was wasted without doing anything useful. I only did housework, but after I joined the programme, I learned new skills and information that I had never heard before. I learned how to depend on myself, trust my ability. Women can also participate in developing their community, and can have their own work and project. This sponsoring and support by women like you is very appreciated, it shows us we all are connected around the world and feel each other as women."
“Before I joined the programme, my life was very difficult. No one accepted me. Even my family always told me, ‘You are such an ignorant woman, you don’t know anything.’ I was bullied many times by my aunts. It broke my heart. I lost trust in myself. I didn’t know how to speak and defend myself.
But after three months of the programme with Women for Women International, I learned different things, it changed me a lot. I feel confident, I improved my personality and status in my family. When I talk everyone listens to me, everyone told me, ‘You have changed a lot and learned how to deal with problems.’ Thank you for sponsoring me and being my sister, your support has made a big change in my life. Please take care of yourself during this difficult time.”
“Before participating in this programme, I had no ideas nor desire to learn any job in order to be independent. After participating in this programme, I have learned new skills. Since I can speak both Kurdish and Arabic, I have made Arabic-speaking friends who are internally displaced due to ISIS. I have enjoyed participating in the classes. I would like to thank you for sponsoring me, with your support my life is getting better. I hope you and your family are doing well and are safe during the spread of coronavirus.”
“I didn’t have enough information on how to deal with my finances and also I didn’t know how to solve the problem my family face. After participating in the programme, I can say that I’m very happy to gain knowledge, learn how to communicate with my family and how to plan for our household budget. I have made friends through our classes, we have become like sisters. We enjoy each other’s company.”
The power of sisterhood in action offers an important reminder: tough times don't last.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, many of the women we serve have had to stay at home, unable to make money for their family and attend training at Women for Women International. Our team knew that these women would still need support, so they looked to mobile phones for solutions.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant that women in our programme could not meet for in-person trainings. Despite this, we have seen how they carried the lessons learnt and friendships formed out of the classroom to protect each other and their community.