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A Light in the Darkest of Times

Every day, we see women demonstrate the strength to overcome the most extraordinary of circumstances. Amidst confusion, panic, fear, and crisis, we see resilience in every woman who goes through our program with the will to rebuild her life.  

We hope that in reading stories of some of our past participants, you find inspiration and hope for the future.   


Pictured above, Francine is a participant of Women for Women International's signature program in Rwanda. She is the widowed mother of six children. Her husband was brutally killed in the Rwandan genocide of 1994, reducing her ability to provide for herself and her family: "After my husband was killed in the genocide, our house was burned so until this year I worked on other people's land for a small income. I struggled taking care of my six children.” 

Joining our program helped Francine learn to support herself and her children in light of the hardships she endured.  

“When I joined Women for Women International, I was able to stop moving from place to place in search of work. Using my stipend, I started buying and selling avocados and tomatoes and earning a stable income." 

Participating in our signature program also provided Francine with more than a stable income; she was able to form meaningful connections with her fellow participants, creating a dependable network of support through which she could share her experiences: "I don't feel alone anymore. I feel happy working with other women. My oldest child just finished university and can now help me with my business. I am proud. I think together we can do more."  


Jane, Program Participant in South Sudan. Photo Credit: Charles Atiki Lamodong
Photo Credit: Charles Atiki Lamodong

Jane is a married mother of three: a seventeen-year-old boy and two daughters — one who is married, and one who is fifteen-years-old and enrolled in school. Jane birthed eleven children, but painfully, only three survived past early childhood. Tragically, infant and child mortality is a common occurrence in the South Sudan, where nearly ten percent of children will die before their fifth birthday.  

Since joining Women for Women International’s signature program in South Sudan, Jane has been trained on health, HIV/AIDS prevention, social networking, conflict resolution, stress management, and savings, all of which translate into improved quality of life for not just herself but for her entire family: "I am now able to do small business and I can pay for the school fees and health needs of my two younger children. I am generally a more confident and happier woman than before I started the training." 

Sheiran and Kabira

Sheiran and Kabira, Program Participants in Iraq. Photo credit: Alison Baskerville
Photo Credit: Alison Baskerville

Sheiran (left) and Kabira (right) are sisters originally from Afrin, Syria. After their city became a dangerous focal point of the Syrian Civil War, Sheiran fled Afrin, and eight months later, Kabira joined her. They found safety at a refugee camp in Mamwaza, Iraq. When fleeing Afrin, they say they just barely survived the journey after their minibus was attacked by missiles fired by the Iraqi army when crossing the border. They managed to only just escape and reach safety in Iraq. 

After settling in Iraq, the sisters discovered the Women for Women International Center and enrolled in our signature program. Both agreed that joining the program has changed their lives as they have learned about their rights as women. Being surrounded by other women who have gone through similar experiences has provided them with a community where they could heal. Sheiran says, "I now have a wonderful feeling of togetherness, hope and support!" 

These stories from women we support around the world remind us that resilience and solidarity — both of which are pillars of our motivation and work — are essential for moving past any crisis that we may face. To continue to be inspired, read more stories from our program participants here