The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper, serving Greater Manchester

Women for Women International

Women for Women International partners women of war with individuals across the globe to teach them skills, rights and health education

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Women for Women International is an established charity which works within eight war-torn countries. It betters the lives of women in these countries by partnering them up with people around the globe, who sponsor them to undertake a year-long program to educate them in areas such as skills, rights and health education. Many of these women have lost everything due to war, including their families and their livelihoods. The partnering scheme is not only successful on a practical level, but also offers emotional support and hope for these women at a time when they are surrounded death and violence.

Last week Women for Women International held a screening of The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo. This documentary was created by Lisa F. Jackson from Washington, who is herself a victim of rape. This compelled her to highlight the trauma of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where rape is used on a daily basis as a weapon of war. The documentary was a real eye-opener to the consequences of rape, not only on the women affected, but their families and the community. It really showed how damaging this weapon of war is in an already fragile country.

I spoke to the Chair Rawnak Jassm, who explains why this charity is so important and why she wanted to get involved. “I simply fell in love with the way the charity gives women of war a second chance. It educates them, teaches them about their rights in society, provides them with skills that allow them to become financially independent and allows them to become socially active. This charity does not merely hand over money or a bag of rice to a woman to sustain her for a month or so, but the money raised is an investment into a woman’s life, as well as her family’s, and the economy as a whole.”

The society aims to raise awareness for the charity, as well as raising money and offering students the opportunity to support this worthwhile cause. They organise many different events in order to raise money, including a weekly Zumba session, bake sales, and barbeques. The society is also looking into the possibility of holding an educational event to portray global issues surrounding women after war.

The society was only started in 2012, but it has already been very successful. However, their main problem is that by having ‘women’ in the name of the society, they have few male participants. In the future they look to advertise this society for everyone and not just for women. With 25 current members, they are hoping to expand in the future, especially as this society deals with such current global issues, offering support in a unique way.

“There is always space on the committee for those that feel like they have something to offer- everyone is welcome to either commit to a role or just volunteer occasionally- everything is pretty casual and the results are always rewarding.  Events and fundraisers are open to everyone and you can keep up to date by subscribing to our emails, Facebook or twitter. It would be lovely to meet anyone that is interested in the cause or would like to learn more.”

For more details you can contact them at:

Wfwi.manchester@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/wfwi.manchester

Follow us on twitter: @WFWI_Manchester