Founded in 1993 by Iraqi Zainab Salbi, Women for Women International (WfWI) work with socially excluded and marginalized women afflicted by conflict.
Zainab Salbi was deeply impacted by the terrors and devastation of the Iran-Iraq war, and ‘learned from her mother to believe strongly in her education and not to assume the traditional women’s role in Iraqi society’.
She was moved to action after reading about the ‘rape camps’ full of female refugees of the Bosnian war. (Read more of Zainab Salbi’s remarkable story in our Worldette Heroine feature here).
After much networking and fundraising, Salbi and her husband have been able to establish an internationally renowned organization praised for its long-term positive impact on women’s rights across the globe.
Today, women from Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Sudan, totaling 351,000 individuals, have participated in WfWI programs.
Women for Women International (WfWI) strive to accomplish four key outcomes, which uphold that: women sustain an income; women are decision makers; women are well; and women have social networks and safety nets.
These goals are accomplished through a year-long program that begins with direct financial aid and emotional support, leading into technical training in business, health, personal rights, budgeting and saving, and more.
Upon completion of the program women are economically stable and carry skills that will assure continued independence and stability for a lifetime.
WfWI have some impressive data that prove their effectiveness in the field. Achievements include an increase in womens’ average daily income from $0.24 to $1.56; and a 70% enrollment rate in social groups upon completion of the year-long program, versus 23% enrollment in social groups at the outset.
In a world that often forgets those most dramatically impacted by war when the fighting is over, Women for Women International is a beacon of hope.
With the skills gained through participation in their program, women can dare to dream that their lives will be put back together; and more, that they can be high-functioning members of society, capable of providing for themselves, tasting the invigorating new flavor of independence.
There are many ways to become involved in Women for Women International. If you’re interested in volunteer, donation or sponsorship opportunities, click here for more information.
Have you been inspired by Women for Women or another charity that empowers women? Tell us about it in the comments below.