Women for Women International gives women survivors of war the tools they need to move from poverty to self-sufficiency. Since opening in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2002 the organization has provided women with the means to become active members of their communities.
Beyond the 11th’s first grant to Women for Women International allowed 100 widows to receive emotional support and training in rights awareness and leadership, as well as educational support, vocational skills, and literacy training. Widows were also offered income generation opportunities like small business development, technical assistance, microcredit loans, and access to local and international markets so they were able to continue to support their families after participation in the program.
As a first step, widows in the program met in small groups twice monthly for a year, facilitated by a staff member trained in women’s rights. During these sessions the widows addressed issues they faced daily and discussed their political, economic, legal and personal rights. At the same time, participants developed a support system with other widows in their communities.
Three to five months into the program, graduates chose from a variety of vocational skills training opportunities. Women for Women International staff guided the widows in their choice of viable business opportunities. This training was provided by local instructors with a wide variety of expertise in areas such as jewelry making, carpet weaving, shoemaking, and food processing. The widows were also able to enroll in literacy classes.
The first group of widows supported by this grant graduated on September 15, 2005 and the remaining four groups graduated in January of 2006.
Beyond the 11th’s second grant to Women for Women International provided the original 100 widows with expanded opportunities for business plan development, business training, technical assistance in forming the cooperatives, and sustainable income generation during a year-long project.