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.
Nov 6, 2012

Meet Viviane

We could not do our work without the hard work of our in-country trainers, who will be the primary beneficiaries of the motorbikes. The trainers, who work with women in our program to teach them everything from vocational skills to health knowledge to important information about their rights, work tirelessly to help women in our program gain knowledge they can use to improve their lives. In addition to our main country offices, we often have satellite offices, and some trainers travel long distances to work with participants in these offices. Motorbikes will help trainers travel between offices more quickly, thereby allowing them to reach more women.

Like many of our program participants, our trainers often have their own amazing stories of triumph. Some were even program participants themselves, who come back to Women for Women International to teach other women the valuable skills they learned in the program. Read below for one woman's journey from victim to suvivor to active citizen. 

Viviane is a skills trainer for WfWI-DRC. She has been making soap since 2003, and a soap trainer for WfWI since 2005. In that time she has trained over 1,000 women many of whom have gone on to become teachers themselves or open successful businesses producing soap. Once forced to discontinue her education after working hard to get to university, Viviane has become a great success and single-handedly supports her six children, all of whom are in school, while continuing as a trainer and running her own soap-making business.

Viviane Mahongole Barhumvanya works with Women for Women International-DRC training women to make soap. Since 2005, Viviane has trained over 1,000 of WfWI-DRC’s participants to become skilled soap makers. Some of the women Viviane has trained have gone on to become trainers themselves. Many others have been hired by production companies or opened small businesses of their own producing and selling soap. 

Viviane is a good teacher. She’s dedicated to the position as evidenced by her four-year long commitment to training WfWI-DRC participants. In addition to her training, Viviane is herself a skilled soap maker and runs a soap-making business out of her home, supplying soap to 50-some business groups.

Viviane pursued her education at a young age. She graduated from elementary school in Kivu and secondary school in Bukavu. She went on to university at the Rural Development College, but her financial situation unfortunately prevented her from finishing. Instead, Viviane pursued soap making to earn a stable income. Becoming a teacher has been a rewarding experience. A single mother of six children, she encourages her children and wants to provide them with the best education. Her oldest daughter is in her first year of university, and her second recently graduated from high school. Her younger children, three sons and one daughter, are all still in high school. Education for all her children, especially her daughters, is one of Viviane’s most important goals in life.

Over the years, Viviane’s dedication to her students and work as a trainer has earned her the utmost respect of her superiors, and she is rewarded with greater responsibility. “…[O]ur department leaders…involve me in the analysis and designing of training modules. My unit gives me additional tasks related to the management of the solidarity small cash box recently created in our department.” She’s proud of all that she has accomplished, and all that her students are accomplishing each day. This year, Viviane and twenty other women from WfWI-DRC were accepted into a business and management training program sponsored by Goldman Sachs and taught by instructors from the University of Dar es Salaam. Once forced to leave school when it became too expensive, Viviane is thrilled now that she will be able to continue her education as part of this program. She is proud of her achievements, and is just one more example of the positive, multiplied change that occurs when women are empowered to become business-women and teachers.

Oct 18, 2012

Meet Zia Gul, a WfWI Vocational Skills Trainer

One very important part of WfWI's vocational training skills program is the trainers. Read on to learn about Zia Gul, a WfWI job skills trainer who teaches WfWI program participants how to knit. Her students learn a vital skill which enables them to earn an income to send their children to school.

Zia, a 45 year-old wife and mother, came to Women for Women International-Afghanistan's office holding one pair of knitted socks. She, like most women in Afghanistan, suffered under the Taliban regime, where women were not allowed to attend school or work; appear in public without a burqa; use cosmetics; play sports; wear bright colors; or even laugh out loud.

She struggled to support her 7 children and husband, who was debilitated from a heart attack. Women attending classes at our offices watched Zia as she knitted socks and asked questions. It soon became apparent that many women wanted to learn how to knit like Zia. Zia was hired by Women for Women International-Afghanistan as one of our first vocational skills trainers. Zia is pleased to share her knowledge, "I earn money for my family and share my skills with other women. I am proud to teach others."

Oct 18, 2012

Meet the Washindi/Camp Bien Aime Women's Group

Meet the Washindi/Camp Bien Aime Women's Group, a class of 20 women participating in WfWI's training program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Over the course of the year-long training program with WfWI, the women will receive training in basic numeracy and literacy skills, health education, rights awareness, business skill training and specific vocational skills.

Washindi is a women group from Camp Bien Aime district, a poor district where most inhabitants are load carriers, most children do not go to school, and people have one poor meal a day at night.  Washindi is a Swahili name which means the Winners.   They justified the choice of this name saying that their enrollment in the Women for Women International sponsorship program will enable them to overcome their hardships and become winners in all the challenges. 

These women group declare that all the topics were important but they were mostly moved by the business, rights and anatomy related topics. Here are brief bio's on two of the participants.

Bibich Kahiriri is a married mother of 9 children of whom 6 go to school.  She sells fish with a capital which has increased from $30 to $50 thanks to her participation to the Women for Women sponsorship program.  She lives in her family in-law.  The profit she makes from her small business enables her to feed her children and to meet her other needs. 

Judith Mulumenkana is a married mother of 5 children of whom only two go to school because the other 3 are not school aged.  She lives on selling small fresh fish  with a capital that goes from $20 before joining the Women for Women sponsorship program to $45 after receiving business related topics and the monthly sponsorship funds.  As her husband is unemployed, she is the one to take care of her family by feeding, clothing, schooling children, paying medical fees and other basic needs of the family.