Women for Women International

Women for Women International

Providing skills, opportunities and hope for women survivors of war in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

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With over twenty brutal armed conflicts across the globe and unprecedented levels of violence against women, there’s never been a greater need to support women survivors of war.

Through Women for Women International’s 12-month training programme, women learn about their rights, as well as key life, vocational and business skills to access livelihoods and break free from poverty.

Since 1993, Women for Women International has supported over 462,000 women in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Sudan. They also engage men in their work, to break down prejudices and practices which prevent women from reaching their full potential.

Funding from People’s Postcode Lottery will help Women for Women International to significantly expand its presence and services in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) in 2018, in response to dire conditions facing women from Syrian refugee and Kurdish host communities.  

Today, 1 in 4 people living in the KRI is a refugee or internally-displaced person – 2 million people in total. Most live in non-camp settings, usually hosted in the poorest areas where jobs and resources are scarce. Women face additional levels of discrimination, and are more likely to be socially isolated, excluded from economic opportunities, and subjected to violence – both as a weapon of war, and within their homes and communities. At the same time, many women are the sole providers for their families and face a daily struggle for survival.

In the past three years, Women for Women International has been helping to train over 1,200 displaced Syrian, Iraqi and Yezidi women. Their stories are ones of resilience, recovery, and determination to create a brighter future for their children. This award will enable Women for Women International to enrol 300 more women in 2018 – empowering them with vitally-needed skills and confidence to rebuild their lives after the traumas of conflict and displacement.

Over the year-long training programme, women will develop an understanding of their legal and human rights, information about health, nutrition and hygiene, and vital vocational and business skills by which to sustain an income through entrepreneurship or employment. The programme also provides counselling to help women overcome trauma, deal with stress, and build confidence and self-esteem – the first step to rebuilding their lives after their ordeals. Regular classes in groups of 25 enable women to form tight social circles of support, breaking the isolation created by conflict and insecurity, and promoting cohesion and trust between women from refugee and Kurdish host communities. 

Women for Women International - UK’s Director of Fundraising and Marketing, Shivonne Graham, says: “At a time when one in every 113 people on earth –  65 million in total – have been driven from their homes by conflict, it is more vital than ever to invest in long-term solutions. This begins with providing opportunities and hope for women who have lost everything and shoulder overwhelming responsibilities to care and provide for their families.  This year, players of the People’s Postcode Lottery will help 300 women access to our life-changing programme - 300 women who will now have emotional support, skills to earn an income, and confidence to make their voices heard.”

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