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Your New Sister is Waiting. Stand With Her!

By standing with women survivors of war, you are helping them realize their power and full potential. 

skill training Iraq
Program participants during skill training in Erbil, Iraq. Credit: WfWI

There is an internal transformation that happens to a woman when she knows there is someone who believes in her and invests in her, when she is put in touch with her own power, when she is filled with confidence in herself rather than shame, when she has connections for support – other women she can lean on. That is the heart and soul of Women for Women International: our deep belief in the power of women coming together to break the isolation of war, rebuilding not just their lives but their families and communities too.  It is with this knowledge and belief that Women for Women International was founded 30 years ago.   

30 Years of Sisterhood: 

Between 1992 and 1995, an estimated 50,000 Bosnian women endured rape as a "war tactic" during the Bosnian War, leaving them traumatized and struggling to rebuild their lives. Survivors said they felt invisible, that the world had forgotten about them, and no one cared. But one young Iraqi woman, Zainab Salbi, and Palestinian-American Amjad Atallah, cared enough to act.  

They traveled to Sarajevo during the siege, where they met with women survivors of the genocide. They began raising money to give Bosnian women so they could rebuild their lives, and directly shared with them letters of solidarity and hope from women in the U.S.  This is how Women for Women International was founded in 1993. This was also the foundation for the organization’s sponsorship program.  

The women survivors in Bosnia told them how they gained hope, respect, and connection, as well as financial support – a powerful combination that has been the basis of our work and our sponsorship program ever since.

Laurie and participant
Laurie is showing Mukarumanzi, a program participant, pictures of her family. They formed a connection by talking about the experience of motherhood. Credit: Alex Niragira

Women for Women International’s sponsorship program has helped create unique personal connections between supporters and women going through the Stronger Women, Stronger Nations program. Through writing letters and sharing about their lives and their hopes, dreams, and challenges, a one-of-a-kind bond is established. Despite being thousands of miles apart, it is a bond of solidarity that creates an impact for a lifetime – for both sister and supporter.  

I have personally been a sponsor for years, and the shared joy, tears, and inspiration experienced with my sisters’ has been life-changing.  

In one of the world’s largest letter exchange programs spanning 30 years, hundreds of thousands of letters have been written and shared since the program started. Imagine the amount of inspiration and shared hope that has been captured in all those letters. In a world that is so harsh and challenging, the sisterhood created through this program is a beacon of light. The program truly has formed a global community of women supporting each other. 

As part of our evolution and desire to a reach wider audience, we have reimagined our sponsorship program. We believe anyone can be a philanthropist, so we have expanded our program to be more inclusive so that even those with less resources can experience the shared joy, hope and inspiration in being part of our global sisterhood.  

Stand With Her  

Laurie and program participants
Laurie and Stronger Women, Stronger Nations program participants. Credit: Alex Niragira

After a lot of research and conversations with our global community of supporters over the last year, we have been reimagining our sponsorship program and adjusting the language around it. We feel that the word “sponsorship” may imply that we’re saving or rescuing our sisters when, truthfully, we’re supporting them to learn essential skills so they have the agency and independence to improve their own lives. This has always been core to our mission and how we’ve worked - and we want to reflect that in the language and branding we use with our sponsorship program. We want the relationship between a donor and sister to be that of a supporter, not savior.  

Going forward, we’ll take a more personal and encouraging approach. This includes changing the sponsorship program name to Stand With Her. The new name encapsulates our vision. It speaks volumes of solidarity and equality and aligns with our ethics to support and stand alongside our sisters. All our language around Stand With Her will change to reflect this new approach.   

How Stand With Her Is Going to Work 

If you’re curious to know how Stand With Her is going to work, it is very simple, and you can choose from two tiers to support: 

  • Sister Supporter: In this tier, similar to how it is currently, you will be paired directly with a sister in one of the countries where we operate our Stronger Women, Stronger Nations program, allowing you to participate in our letter-writing program. You will develop a personal and rewarding connection with a survivor of war who will feel your encouragement and financial support from thousands of miles away. In this tier, you get the added benefit of knowing you have been able to fundamentally change a specific sister's life. You will know the name of your sister, learn about her life, write her letters, and receive updates about her chosen vocation and progress in our program.
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  • Classroom Supporter: If supporting a sister directly feels too much for you financially, you can still join a global community of donors to collectively support sisters by fully funding our Stronger Women, Stronger Nations classrooms around the world. From pencils and textbooks to agricultural supplies, your commitment as a Classroom Supporter will make sure that sisters across our programs have the resources they need to participate and complete their training. You will receive regular updates on the impact you are making and how your support is building women’s power. 
join as a classroom supporter button
bread making
Ivonne (center purple) from Birava, DRC, explains that Women for Women International brought her community of women together. A new skill that Ivonne learned through WfWI is bread making. With the money she has earned from bread making, she is able to pay for her kid’s school fees. Credit: Ryan Carter

By supporting, you're joining a global movement that compassionately champions the belief that disadvantaged women can be incredible changemakers. With some guidance and support, their newfound skills are reinvested in themselves, their families, and friends — making the world a better place for everyone.   

We've seen first-hand the immensely positive impact of our graduates, how their powerful voices and skills influence those around them.   

I invite you to become a Stand With Her supporter and join our global movement.  

Stand with your sisters by committing to a monthly gift. Whatever size donation you can make will have a lasting impact. 

In gratitude, 

Laurie Adams 

program participant Afghanistan
Help a survivor of war and conflict achieve her dreams. For only $35 a month, you can change a woman's life!