Women for Women International

In countries affected by conflict and war, Women for Women International supports the most marginalized women to earn and save money, improve health and well-being, influence decisions in their home and community, and connect to networks for support. By utilizing skills, knowledge, and resources, she is able to create sustainable change for herself, her family, and community.
Oct 1, 2014

Meet Valbona

Valbona in her field
Valbona in her field

For Valbona, the war in Kosovo destroyed everything she and her family had. “We tried to stay in Kosovo for as long as we could. My husband and I fled our village to escape the violence. In April 1999, things became too unstable and dangerous, so we left for Albania.

When we came back, everything had changed. Most of the houses in our village were empty shells that had been abandoned, looted and burned. Everything that we had was destroyed. Everything that we owned was stolen. We were lucky that they didn’t burn our house,” recalls Valbona.

“Learning how to grow food – and how to make an income through horticulture – were the most important lessons I learned from joining Women for Women International’s program. We traveled together around Kosovo to see different fields and greenhouses that could be used to grow vegetables all year long. I learned how to create a garden and grow seedlings. This inspired me and took my breath away. I saw that I could do it myself.”

Today, Valbona employs six of her family members and sells the cucumbers and peppers they grow in the local markets in and around Pristina. Inspired by her success, four other women in her community have started gardens of their own. “Horticulture gave me an escape and a sense of pride,” says Valbona.

Reinvesting her business profits in her family’s future, Valbona began to save money regularly. “Before, we didn’t have enough money, and we didn’t know how to save up money. Now, I am never without money. Even if we do not have much, we have something. Now, I have a personal bank account.”

Valbona and the other women in their village have found a new sense of independence. “Before, we didn’t really go out of the house because we were housewives, and we didn’t have a reason. And without a reason, we couldn’t go out of the house. There was always someone to go out and run errands for me, and I would only leave the house to visit family members. Now, I am connected with my neighbors and we formed a community. We can go wherever we want, and it’s not such a big deal anymore.”

Inspired by her success so far, Valbona has set new goals for herself. “I want to have a new greenhouse, and I want to keep getting more women involved with building an irrigation system,” she says. Tapping her new network, Valbona is confident that together she and the other women in her community will be able to achieve any challenging goal they set for themselves.

Valbona
Valbona

Links:

Aug 29, 2014

Meet Zarghuna

Decades of violence in Afghanistan have left millions of women and girls displaced or widowed. Common discriminatory practices, amplified by extremist groups, often make it dangerous for women to seek education, healthcare services, employment, or, in some cases, even to leave their homes.

Women like Zarghuna have not lost hope. With your help, the Women for Women International – Afghanistan team provides our yearlong training programs for women, as well as programs to engage men.

One of my friends told me about Women for Women International and how it provided training for women. When I joined, I found myself in a group of 25 women. That’s when I learned that I wasn’t alone in my suffering. There are other women, who have the same pain and the same hardships. To realize that was amazing. I went to the organization for a year until I graduated. After that I succeeded in finding a job in embroidery and handicraft. And I was always thinking about how I could build my own business. Eventually I decided to take a micro-loan of $500. From there I started selling my embroidered products and my business grew quickly. I am so proud to be able to tell you that I have $30,000 in the bank. And just a month ago, I was able to purchase machinery for $18,000 to improve my business. One day I know I will have a huge business in Afghanistan. I only wish to see peace in my country and expand my business more and more. For now, I am so happy that I am providing employment to 120 women, women who once suffered a lot. It’s not only women that I hire. I also have men as employees and helping us with the sales.

I am always talking with the women. I wanted to share all my experiences and I tell them to be strong, as I became strong. I explain to them how I transformed from victim to active citizen. “So you have it. This is a lesson learned for each of you. You have to take that step to move forward.” And as for my daughter—this year she is graduating from high school and I have a dream to see her in a university. On her graduation day from university, I will be relaxed.

Aug 29, 2014

Meet Zainab

With limited access to health services and education, patriarchal norms, and mounting violence, Nigerian women struggle to gain economic opportunities and equality. Common discriminatory practices, amplified by extremist groups, subject women and girls to dangers, including forced early marriage and the possibility they will face violence for going to school.

Yet women like Zainab have not lost hope. With your help, the Women for Women International – Nigeria team provides our yearlong training program for women, as well as programs to engage men. 

“The turning point in my life is when I joined Women for Women International. I heard about the program from a participant who graduated, and decided to join because she told me that I would receive both emotional and financial support from the program."

She received poultry farm training but, “During the sessions on decision-making and women’s rights, my eyes were opened. It made me appreciate myself more as a human being. I thought that only men had rights to everything. I never believed that I had rights, nor did I understand gender equality. I have always been taught that a woman has no right until marriage, and when married, her right ends with caring for her family. If she had to claim any other right, it had to be given to her by her husband. Learning that I was born with all my rights was very interesting."

For Zainab, becoming part of a support network of other women has provided her strength and the ability to stand up for her rights. “The greatest change in my life is the emotional relief I have received from the trainings offered. Being in the Women for Women International program has helped me to build friendships with women of other religions and tribes. We support each other emotionally and financially when need be. I visit their homes and they also visit mine. I am so grateful for being a part of this program.”

donate now:

An anonymous donor is matching all new monthly recurring donations. Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $50
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $250
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $250
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Women for Women International

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Women for Women International on GreatNonProfits.org.