Women for Women International

Women for Women International is an organization that I became interested in because it helps women survivors of war to rebuild their lives.  It helps them to go from being victims to survivors to active citizens.  It was founded by Zainab Salbi who served as CEO from 1993 to 2011. In the past 18 years, the organization has distributed more than $103 million in direct aid, micro credit loans, and has impacted more than 1.7 million family members. Recognized for its work in “alleviating human suffering”, Women for Women International was awarded the 2006 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, making it the first women’s organization to receive this honor. 

Zainab Salbi is the author of two books; a national bestseller “Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam” (with Laurie Becklund) that documents her life under Saddam Hussein’s rule and “The Other Side of War: Women’s Stories of Survival and Hope.” She has appeared on“The Oprah Winfrey Show”, CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.  She was honored by Former President Bill Clinton for her work in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993 and was most recently nominated by him as one of the Harper’s Bazaar 21st Century Heroines to honor her actions, faith and determination in making a difference.

If you’re interested in helping Zainab and her staff to raise awareness about Women for Women International and would like to change the world one woman at a time, here are 10 ways you can get involved:

10. Send an E-Card
Want to let your friends know you support Women for Women? Our e-cards are a quick, fun way to show your support. Browse through our selections of cards which feature pictures of the women we help in each of our eight countries. Then choose your recipient, write a special note, and click Send!

9. Host a Fundraising Event
Plan a walk/run or a simple dinner party. You can even practice yoga to benefit women survivors of war. Women for Women International can send you materials such as literature and our informative DVD. So grab some friends and have a good time, all while helping women rebuild their lives. Check out the Get Involved part of the website for more information!

8. Create a Who is your sister? Page
If you are a sponsor or considering becoming a sponsor, then you should know with just a click of your mouse, you can share your sponsor experience with others and encourage them to become sponsors too at WhoIsYourSister.org. You can introduce your Sister to your friends and family by creating a personalized page and sharing it through e-mail, Facebook and more…it’s so easy to do!

7. Tell a Friend
The easiest way to let people know about Women for Women International is through our Tell A Friend feature on our website. When you sign up your friends, they will receive updates and information about what we’re doing.

6. Get Involved at School
So you’re a student looking for ways to help? Why not hold a bake sale or other fundraising events to raise awareness? College students can form a campus chapter.

5. Fundraise Online
It’s easier than ever to raise awareness and funds for Women for Women International. Perhaps you would like to dedicate your birthday, wedding or other special occasion to helping the women we serve. Click here for more information.

4. Share Your Story
Many supporters have a particular story about how they became involved with Women for Women International. You may have read about a woman in need or become a sponsor and made a meaningful connection with your Sister halfway across the world. Share your story with others. Maybe you will inspire someone to become a sponsor and change a life!

3. Host a Book Club
Looking for the next great read for your book club? This month, try reading one of these books that address women’s issues broadly and the work of Women for Women International. Between Two Worlds: Escape From Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam is Women for Women International founder, Zainab Salbi’s memoir. The Other Side of War: Women’s Stories of Survival and Hope shares the heart-wrenching accounts of women like those we strive to help. Finally, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity Worldwide takes a look at women’s issues all over the world, and features a section on our work. Learn more about all of these at womenforwomen.org.

2. Become an Ambassador
Truly passionate about Women for Women’s work? Then apply to become an ambassador! This new program will allow you to get a behind the scenes look at Women for Women International while spending a year promoting our work. Ambassadors hold at least two fundraising events, mobilize others, and speak with the media when appropriate. In return they receive access to online toolkits and invitations to Women for Women events and update calls.

1. Social Networking
Are you plugged into the social media sphere? Sites like Facebook and Twitter can be a great way to spread the word about us. Update your status or twitter with a post linking to the Women for Women homepage, share a post from our blog, Notes From the Field, or make a YouTube video about what we do (check out our channel for ideas). Don’t forget to check our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates!

These are all great ways to help to raise awareness and to help Women for Women International realize their vision “of a world where no one is abused, poor, illiterate or marginalized; where members of communities have full and equal participation in the processes that ensure their health, well-being and economic independence; and where everyone has the freedom to define the scope of their life, their future and strive to achieve their full potential.”

I encourage you to visit their website and spend some time browsing it.  Learn about the work they are doing and how you might want to get involved.  You may decide to sponsor somceone, attend an event, come up with great fundraising ideas, become an intern or a volunteer or even consider changing your career.  The possibilities are endless.  All it takes is a moment of your time.   You can make a difference in the lives of women–one woman at a time.  Take action today.

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