Monday, February 25, 2008

Women for Women International

I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about a fantastic organization that is truly changing the lives of women on our planet.

Women for Women International is a fabulous organization that supports women who live in conflict and post-conflict environments around the globe. They provide opportunities to sponsor women who are in situations that most of us would find beyond belief.

I have been working with them as a sponsor for the past 5 years. Each year I sponsor a different woman through their program (described a bit below). The sponsorship includes a monthly sponsorship fee and a monthly letter/correspondence with my 'sister.' This year, my sister is from Sudan. I have sponsored women in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Nigeria. It has been a thrilling and rewarding experience to share part of life's journey with women in such different life circumstances from my own.

As a women who is blessed to live in a country where I have tremendous freedom, rights and protection, I feel called to do something to help women who not only do not share those luxuries, but have also been exposed to extreme levels of conflict and violence.

Sponsorship costs $27 per month, which is such a small price to pay for giving a woman a chance to rebuild her life!

I encourage anyone who often feels helpless in the face of some of the world's suffering to take a look at this opportunity to expand your sense of family and include a woman in your heart from a far corner of the globe! You'll never be the same!

Here's a brief excerpt from the Women for Women International website about what this amazing organization does:

Across the globe, armed conflicts have reached an unprecedented number. There have been more than 250 major wars since the end of World War II. Ninety percent of those injured or killed in today’s conflicts are civilians, 75 percent of whom are women and children. As never before, women are forced to bear the burdens of war and civil strife.

Millions of women are targeted for rape or other violence, displaced from their own homes, lose loved ones or suddenly obliged to become the sole provider for their families. They are frequently left to rebuild their lives without the basic necessities for survival or a viable means to earn an income. Women are also commonly excluded from peace negotiations and post-conflict decision-making.

Founded in 1993, Women for Women International helps women in war-torn regions rebuild their lives by providing financial and emotional support, job skills training, rights awareness and leadership education and access to business skills, capital and markets. Through the program, women become confident, independent and productive as they embrace the importance of their roles in rebuilding their families, their communities and ultimately, their nations.

Changing Lives
We help women advance from being victims to attaining stability as survivors to becoming active citizens in their communities. By joining Women for Women International, thousands of women have:

* Found new hope
* Gained or enhanced skills relevant to their local economies
* Learned how to value the importance of their roles and rights in society
* Started businesses
* Sent their children to school
* Registered to vote

Since 1993, Women for Women International has:

* Served more than 120,000 women

* Distributed approximately $33 million in direct aid and microcredit loans

Since our inception, Women for Women International has moved 120,000 women from crisis to stability to active citizenship. Active citizenship takes many forms. For example, in Afghanistan we helped women understand the importance of voting and registered more than 2,000 women to vote in the historic presidential elections. In Nigeria, women have organized themselves to end oppressive widowhood practices and female genital cutting in their communities. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, 9,686 women are moving towards economic self-sufficiency through our microcredit program. These accomplishments are noteworthy because on both the micro and macro levels, women are making incremental yet sweeping changes in their communities and countries.

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