“A new sun will rise on us all” - Messages of Hope From Iraq

In Iraq, where COVID-19 cases remain high, our team innovated ways for women to stay connected with staff, each other, and their global support network.

Lockdowns have taken an economic and emotional toll on women but the team in Iraq adapted mobile groups formed for support and information sharing into online trainings. While much of their lives have been put on pause, women can resume their journey to power remotely.  

Weekly sessions allow women to safely build their skills and knowledge but it’s no substitution for the bonds formed when women commune in a safe, physical space. Regardless, they maintain these connections to support one another and share their hope with us across the world.  

Banaz  

I am a savings group leader. I am thankful for this opportunity in which I can express my gratitude for you, my dear sister. I hope you are staying safe and healthy during the spread of coronavirus; I hope that I can meet you once the situation is back to normal.  

I am always grateful for your sisterhood and support. Before my husband wouldn’t allow me to participate in programs or freely leave the house. When I told that I will learn new things, he agreed to allow me to participate in the program.  

I feel very happy and since I am the savings group leader, women ask me questions about the program, when trainings will resume. This program has opened our eyes, taught us how to express ourselves, opened our minds. I hope that other women like us will benefit from the program. Thanks for being with us and supporting us. 

Hana  

Before I joined this program, I thought women just needed to do housework, and that is how I lived my life. But after joining this program in December 2019, my ideas and opinions have changed.

I have more information on human rights and that everyone has the right to be free and feel safe. Women have the right to work. Women shouldn’t be discriminated against.  

I am hoping that you and your family have good health. I am praying and asking God to heal the infected people as well. Your support means a lot to us. I can see that not only me but my classmates have changed and benefited a lot from this program as well. This program is very useful for women in Shekhan-Duhok. 

Sausan  

Like any other women in Shekhan, before the program I didn’t have a lot of information and knowledge. Norms and traditions were the things controlling women, but as I am participating in these classes, I have learned how to balance between work and household tasks. I have organized my life more, I have started helping women in need, I share the things I learn from the classes with them. My dear sister, I hope that you stay patient and strong. This disease will go away one day and a new sun will rise on us all. Thanks for supporting women in Shekhan. You have given us hope. We hope to change our society for the better. 

Yusra 

I was a woman who kept working in the house every day. I never knew that women have the right to work outside the house. I wouldn't leave the house except for necessary things. I cared a lot about what other people would say.  

After joining this program, my ideas changed. My self-confidence increased. I learned about the value of women’s work. I learned that it is very important for a woman to have her own job and depend on herself.

Thank you so much for supporting me. I hope this difficult time will pass soon. I hope you and your family members are staying healthy. May God protect you from this virus. I am sure with your support, women will change their lives for the better, because I know I have changed. 

Gullnza 

Thank you so much for supporting me. This program is very useful for me and the other women in the program. I used to have a good idea of my finances and savings, but this program taught me how to keep track of it and record my expenses versus my savings. I share the things I learn with my neighbors; they say that they wish they could have participated in the program. I hope you are doing well, staying healthy. I hope the world will rid of this virus, and our lives will go back to normal. 

Tavga 

My dear sister, due to your support I have benefited a lot form this program. It has helped me improve my psychological state and look for the right ways in life. I feel stronger when it comes to managing household finances. I have signed up to learn how to sew. As soon as the classes start again, I will participate in sewing classes. I want this program to continue so other women can benefit from it as well.