Sustainable Change Starts with Women
In their own words and through their inspiring stories, women affected by war and conflict remind us of their strength and determination to overcome the most daunting challenges.
We reach out to women who are often left behind – those who struggle with poverty and violence, who are denied basic education and health care, and who suffer greatly from conflict. The women we serve tell us that through our programmes, they find new opportunities to strengthen themselves, their families, and their communities.
Meet our programme participants
24 years old, proud mother, leader and trainer – Marie is changing the way her community treat people with physical disabilities, one soap bar at a time.
I used to depend on my husband totally to cover all expenses, pay children school fees and medical care - but now I am empowered.
There are many young girls who come from my village who are rape victims. When they come I try to encourage them, telling them "You still have life, one still has value." I tell them that they should hope for the future.
The friendly environment at the training centre and connections I made with other women changed my life.
In July 1995, men and boys were massacred in Srebrenica during the genocide in Bosnia. Fazila lost male relatives but knew she had to rebuild her life for the sake of her daughter and the women in her community.
Francine fled Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. When she returned, she had to stop her education and find work. Married at an early age, she soon found it difficult to work and provide for her growing family, but beekeeping changed everything.
Unable to find work as a refugee, Shireen desperately wanted to learn a new skill that could help her provide for her family. Shireen learnt how to sew, but she gained more than the ability to make clothes: she learnt about her worth and value as a woman.
Christine knows what survival means. She was pregnant with her first child during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Faced with economic challenges after the death of her husband, she needed more than survival, she needed a future for her family.
Nanbam’s life was changed after attending the Stronger Women, Stronger Nations programme. She learnt new skills that could help her and her family, and other women too. Nanbam’s outlook changed from meeting her own immediate needs to helping other women.
Saratu, our programme participant from Nigeria shares her experience of escaping Boko Haram, learning about health, business and gender equality and building a better life for herself and her family.
Women entrepreneurs in Iraq are preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Hassana escaped Boko Haram and lost almost everything. Since joining Women for Women International she has learnt business skills and started earning her own income, improved her and her family's health and gained hope for a better future.
Our neighbour knocked at the door and asked ‘Why are you not escaping?’ She told us that they are kidnapping girls and killing men, so we decided to run away and not take anything with us.
I was alone and had to take care of the children who were all very young at the time. I couldn’t imagine them growing without their father around. He was the one who provided for them.
After graduating from our 12 month programme in the Democractic Republic of Congo, Cinama went on to start her own brickmaking business. She now shares her knowledge with other women and is looked up to as a role model.
Joining the Women for Women International programme was the biggest change in my life. I found myself. I was convinced that I was alone, the only person who had experienced such difficulties.
During the sessions on decision-making and women’s rights, my eyes were opened. It made me appreciate myself more as a human being.
One of my friends told me about Women for Women International and how it provided training for women. That’s when I learned that I wasn’t alone in my suffering. There are other women, who have the same pain.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The programme gave me the courage and the skills I needed. Other women encouraged me and gave me new ideas. I am proud to say I am a beekeeper. It gives me a lot of self-confidence.
I know that I should take courage because I survived a hard situation. Every day, I have to wake up and pray and say, thank you God, for I’m still alive. It was hard but now I’m here.
I will continue mobilising other women in the community in utilising the lessons I have learned, and I hope many more of them will be part of the training.