Women for Women International - Bosnia and Herzegovina programme participant.

Stories

Read the stories of some of the incredible women survivors of war that Women for Women International supports. Every woman who enrols in our programme has her own unique story of resilience and hope. You can help to shine a light on the realities facing women in conflict zones – and their remarkable potential - by sharing these women’s stories with your friends and networks.

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Stories

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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

Madlien

subtitle:

"The war, though, is bringing me a lot of pain and anxiety. The Madlien that existed before, with the beautiful smile that used to project hope among people, does not exist anymore. I wonder if she's ever going to be back to the past days. Could anything in the world make up for the loss that we are experiencing? Absolutely not. Even though the situation seems endless, I am hopeful that Palestinian women’s voices will be heard, and that one day there will be peace in the region."  


Hadiza

subtitle:

Changing cultural norms is not an easy task, especially when you are a woman in a remote village in Nigeria. But Hadiza is a testament to women’s power and strength. #SheDares to fight for women’s rights, even when it threatens her personal safety. This is her story.


Sohaila

subtitle:

"Culturally, as a widow, it was expected of me to withdraw from public life and rely on the support of my extended family. However, I was determined to take a different path to provide for my children."

Read Sohaila's story of strength and defiance.


Marie Jeanne

subtitle:

The involvement of women in decision-making processes is essential for a balanced and equitable society. However, men are in control of the processes in Marie Jeanne’s community. Read about how she has fought for women’s voices to be heard in community gatherings, and dared to challenge other injustices too. #SheDares to speak up on behalf of all the women in her community.


Mariam

subtitle:

Mariam* has been working with us to document the deteriorating situation in Gaza. While living through the horrors of war herself, she dares to lift the stories of other Palestinian women. 


Angelique

subtitle:

Many women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo don't own their own land - even though most farmworkers are women and despite laws in place to protect their right to it. Read about how Angelique's journey through out programme led her to become a Change Agent and persuading a skeptical community that she had just as much right to own land as her husband.


Suzan

subtitle:

War has taken so much from Suzan – loved ones, financial security, stability – but she has always fought to protect her children. When her daughter became pregnant and faced forced marriage, Suzan dared to defy her family and communal pressures. And now, she helps others dare to do the same. This is her story.  


Faizah

subtitle:

Faizah has always been brave – even aged 13, when her uncles tried to force her into marriage. So, when ISIS attacked her community and warned her not to flee, she harnessed that defiance and dared to find safety. Faizah dreams of a world without war; of peace for her children. Here is her story.


Chisimdi

subtitle:

Despite years of violence at the hands of her partner, Chismidi had the strength to raise and provide for her four children. After leaving the relationship behind, she regained her voice and courage. #SheDares to stand up against child trafficking, even boldly standing in front of the President to advocate for the rights of women. This is her story.


Grace

subtitle:

Amid violence and poverty following the Rwandan Genocide, Grace dares to build a better life. She is pursuing a large-scale business venture in a small Rwandan community, an innovative project to make footballs that captured the heart of FIFA’s President. Her idea has provided opportunities for the women in her savings group and demonstrates the power of resilience. Grace dares to overcome adversity and create positive change in her community.  


Ferhana

subtitle:

Ferhana graduated from our Stronger Women, Stronger Nations programme four years ago. Since then, she's been running a shop and employing other women - all the sole earners for their families. But Afghanistan's de facto government put her success and security at risk. Read her story of hope and power against all the odds.


Birhane

subtitle:

Burhane is a survivor of loss and sexual violence. For a long time, she had lost all hope. But today, she runs a small shop, supports her children and dreams of owning a supermarket where she lives in Ethiopia. Read her story of transformation. 


Manal

subtitle:

A widow at only 23, Manal has survived over a decade of violence in Syria and now lives in a camp for internally displaced people. After years of limited opportunities, scarce resources and financial instability, our beauty care training programme, delivered with Women Now For Development, has been a dream come true. 


Sarab

subtitle:

For many years Sarab's life was restricted by ISIS's control of Mosul, Iraq. Today, thanks to her enrolment in the Stronger Women, Stronger Nations programme she is slowly beginning to move on from this trauma and, for the first time in her life, is starting to believe in herself and her capabilities. 


Dada

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Dada was forced to flee her home when Boko Haram threatened to kill her husband. Now she is a successful businesswoman and a leader in her community. 


Suraiya

subtitle:

"When I found myself in the programme, I was happy. Now I want members of my family to also benefit from this programme."


Nastasiya

subtitle:

"My name is not Nastasiya. It is too dangerous to tell you my real name." After fleeing the war in Ukraine, 'Nastasiya' says, "We have lost our home, our city and many of our neighbours, but we will not lose our spirit."


Sifa

subtitle:

Motivated by the prospect of learning how to make clothes, Sifa joined the Stronger Women, Stronger Nations programme. But it was the lessons she learnt about women's empowerment that helped to transform her life.


Sarah

subtitle:

The Women for Women International programme was my ray of hope. It felt like I was finally completing my education which was cut short by poverty.


Amissi

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Through our programme, Amissi has learnt financial literacy, vocational skills and about family planning. She has transformed her marriage, her children's opportunities and - ultimately - her life.


Nema

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Nema lives with her husband and five children, displaced in South Sudan after fleeing conflict in their hometown in 2016. Read about how our programme helped Nema become an entrepreneur and rebuild her life. 


Habiba

subtitle:

Habiba was forced to drop out of school in 2017 due to the dangers of conflict. She didn't know if she would ever get the chance to finish her education. That was until a Community Learning Centre, funded by Women for Women International, came to her village. 


Olga

subtitle:

If someone had told me in the past that I would need to restart my life from scratch, I couldn't believe it. But that is what happened to me when I needed to flee to Poland with my son.


Josephine

subtitle:

At 31 years old, Josephine is married with two children. She is from Nigeria, where she had to drop out of school after falling pregnant. Now, she hopes to continue her education to university level. Read her story.


Obaida

subtitle:

Being in the programme, I enjoyed having the space to connect with other women in the skill-building and social empowerment classes. I was learning things that I never imagined I would have the opportunity to learn in my life.  


Nasima

subtitle:

Thanks to Women for Women International and my trainers, I now know how to sew beautiful dresses. Moreover, with the lessons I had about savings, I could save a portion of the stipends I was receiving from the programme to buy my own sewing machine.


Yusra

subtitle:

I was very disappointed and stressed when the new government (in Afghanistan) took over because it was so hard for me to enrol in this programme, and suddenly I couldn't learn anything, but when I heard about the resuming of the programme, I was very happy.


Euphrasie

subtitle:

Through genocide, rape and the loss of two children, Euphrasie never lost hope. Read her story, from forced marriage to skilled beadworker and her family's breadwinner.


Daniella

subtitle:

Daniella has always had a dream of owning her own tailoring workshop, but for years she didn't have the skills or the start-up money. Since completing our Stronger Women, Stronger Nations programme, Daniella has turned her dream into a reality.


Josephine

subtitle:

Aged 31, mother of 3 and now a proud farmer and business owner - this is Josephine's story of success and self-reliance. She shared: "I am grateful to Women for Women International for reviving my hope from a very unclear path and putting me on the path of growth."


Marie

subtitle:

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.


Patience

subtitle:

I used to depend on my husband totally to cover all expenses, pay children school fees and medical care - but now I am empowered.


Solange

subtitle:

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.


Sameera

subtitle:

The friendly environment at the training centre and connections I made with other women changed my life.


Fazila

subtitle:

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

subtitle:

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.


Shireen

subtitle:

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

subtitle:

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

subtitle:

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

subtitle:

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.


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We Are "Hanya"

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Women entrepreneurs in Iraq are preventing the spread of COVID-19.


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Hassana

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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.


Seve

subtitle:

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.


Grace

subtitle:

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.


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Remzije

subtitle:

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.


Zainab

subtitle:

During the sessions on decision-making and women’s rights, my eyes were opened. It made me appreciate myself more as a human being.


Zarghuna

subtitle:

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.


Sabina

subtitle: 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.


Claudine

subtitle:

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.


Regina

subtitle:

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.