My name is Sifa
Motivated by the prospect of learning how to make clothes for herself and her children, 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.
My name is Sifa, I am 35 years old, and I was born and raised in Mosul City. After my mother passed away, I decided to take care of my sisters, brothers and especially my father because he was disabled.
When I was 18 years old, one day I realised that my father had exchanged me for a very little amount of money and gave me to my cousin to marry him! I was forced to leave school and marry my cousin despite never loving him. In that moment my life changed, and it became very difficult. What kind of life would come after this?
I suddenly realised, my family and everyone I knew turned their back on me. No one would assist me. I've tried so many times to get rid of this marriage and survive but I failed. I was left with no choice but to accept it. My life after this marriage was very much colourless and had no interesting thing in it.
One day my sister told me about a Women for Women International training centre and asked, "why don’t you register your name?" I wanted to learn sewing skills because I wanted to make clothes for myself and my children. After I participated in the Stronger Women, Stronger Nations programme, I found that there was much more to learn than just sewing skills. There were also social and economic empowerment classes!
I have found a new purpose and goals for my life; I now know my value and how to stand up for my rights.
In the economic empowerment classes, I have learnt how to save money, how to start up a business and how valuable and important it is for women to have their own projects and own income. Finally, I have felt that I found my way. No more miserable life.
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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.
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.
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.