Why do we work in Iraq?
Iraq is plagued by controversial leadership and a lack of infrastructure, transforming the situation for women from one of relative autonomy and security before the war into a national crisis. Violence against women has radically increased: Female Iraqi professionals are targeted for abduction and murder.
Two wars, an authoritarian regime and U.N. sanctions have crippled Iraq, and today, most Iraqis struggle to meet their most basic needs. Many women are widowed and most live in poverty.
With your help, Women for Women International is working with women in Iraq to rebuild their lives.
What you help us do in Iraq
Our programs in Iraq include direct financial aid, rights awareness classes, job-skills training and emotional support. The one-year program was developed for Iraq’s special challenges and demands, and includes vocational training that helps women earn an income and support themselves, through:
Hair-dressing — capitalizing on the demand for high-quality beauty services in Iraq
Screenprinting — women learn to operate machines that produce quality designs on items such as mugs, plates, boxes, t-shirts and uniforms
Other courses include:
Women for Women International has operated in Iraq since 2003 and our programs have helped more than 6,500 women.
Of Women for Women International-Iraq program participants and graduates:
- 92% report improvements in their economic situation
- 88% report improvements in both physical and mental health
- 90% are actively participating in key household decisions
- 92% leave the program with knowledge of their legal rights
- 87% voted in recent local or national elections
Hind's father was killed and her mother injured when a missile intended for a nearby mosque destroyed their home instead. Terrified, her family moved in with Hind's grandmother, and lived in fear of another attack for the next six months.
Finally, the family returned to their home, rebuilding it themselves because they could not afford to hire help. With the trauma she'd experienced, Hind was depressed and felt hopeless that she and her family would ever lead a better life.
When she enrolled with Women for Women International, she was able to take vocational courses in computers and sewing, and eventually decided to join a candle-making collaborative.
"You give me new hope, you help me see the light at the end of the tunnel," she says. "I want to learn to be able to help myself and help other women."