By: Women for Women International
Women for Women International (WfWI) believes that lasting change can only be achieved when women have access to both knowledge and resources.
Women for Women International works with socially excluded women in eight countries where war and conflict have devastated lives and communities. Each woman served has her own story–some of loved ones murdered, and others of physical and emotional trauma. Most have endured a struggle for survival.
When WfWI enrolls women in its one-year program, they learn job skills and receive business training so they can earn a living. They come to understand their rights and how to fight for those rights in their homes, their communities and their nations and become leaders. In the WfWI program, women are matched with a global network of sponsors who provide monthly financial assistance and emotional support. These monthly financial contributions allow a woman to cover basic necessities for herself and her family. The letters received from sponsors provide an emotional lifeline to a woman who may have lost everything due to war or conflict and serve as motivation for rebuilding confidence, and perseverance needed to accomplish the programs’ goals.
WfWi founder, Zainab Salbi, has often said that women are the bellwether of society. Their well-being directly correlates to how society fares overall.
When women survivors of war participate in WfWI programs, the outcomes are beneficial to women and society as a whole:
Women are well. Access to affordable and accessible healthcare–as well as training in disease prevention–significantly reduces preventable deaths.
Women have a voice in family and community decisions. Studies show that women exercise greater decision-making power within their families when they are educated, earn a stable income and have access to resources such as land and credit.
- Women contribute to economic stability. When women earn an income, they reinvest a much higher portion in their families and communities compared to men.
Women have networks and safety nets. As program participants, women learn the importance of working together. By working in groups, they also benefit from a support system and social networks.
Photo by: Susan Meiselas, taken from WfWI Web site