Why do we work in Bosnia & Herzegovina?
Women for Women International exists because of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In 1993, Women for Women International Founder Zainab Salbi heard reports of wartime atrocities against women in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Compelled to act, she visited the country herself.
She spoke with women who'd been imprisoned in rape camps, endured daily mass rapes by soldiers and had lost their entire families to ethnic cleansing.
When she returned to the U.S., she founded Women for Women International to help Bosnian women.
Although the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was more than 15 years ago, it toppled the economy and shattered lives, and women are still struggling today: to heal, to recover and to reunite.
With your help, Women for Women International in Bosnia and Herzegovina is working with women to rebuild their lives.
What you help us do in Bosnia & Herzegovina
Our programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina include direct financial aid, rights awareness classes, job-skills training and emotional support. The one-year program was developed for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s special challenges and demands, and includes training that helps women earn an income and support themselves, through:
Greenhouse management — to show women how to successfully grow, cultivate and earn an income through vegetable sales
Access to finances — to give women access to microcredit loans and savings through a separate facet of the Women for Women International-Bosnia and Herzegovina program
Partnership with kate spade new york — capitalizing on the skills of Bosnian women in knitting and embroidery
Other courses include:
- Dairy production
- Berry cultivation
- Medicinal herb collection
- Elderly and child care
Women for Women International has operated in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1994. We are privileged to have Seida Saric as our Country Director, overseeing programs that have helped more than 29,000 women in 60 communities.
Of Women for Women International-Bosnia and Herzegovina program participants and graduates:
- 70% report improved emotional well-being
- 96% leave the program with knowledge of their legal rights
- 95% are actively participating in key household decisions
- More than half of graduates are currently saving income to invest in their future
Ibrima survived the massacre at Srebrenica, along with her five children—but her husband was among those killed. She escaped the horror of the rest of the war by fleeing Bosnia and Herzegovina with her children, including three-month old twins.
When Ibrima returned to Srebrenica in 2001, she discovered that much of her family had died in the war, leaving her completely alone to care and provide for her children, with no job and no money. She joined Women for Women International to receive financial assistance and learn a trade, but she thinks the greatest benefit of enrolling has been healing from the devastation and loss she has experienced.
"I want to thank Women for Women International because you bring people together to talk about the pain and what we have been through and get support that really helps. ...[T]hanks to Women for Women, we got help with counseling, one of our most pressing needs," she says.