What does sisterhood mean to you?
When you ask women around the world ‘What is Sisterhood?’ the answers are surprisingly similar. Sisterhood means building personal connections, understanding that our similarities are more powerful than our differences. Your sister could be a relation, a friend, a colleague or a woman you have never met.
UK Patron Dame Helen Mirren, supporters Elizabeth Debicki, Emma Grede, Jude Wanga, Trustee Hikari Yokoyama, and Executive Director Brita Fernandez Schmidt ask, ‘What is Sisterhood’ in a new short film by Women for Women International, the charity which supports women survivors of war. The film celebrates the power of sisterhood with one simple message: it’s time to stand up and be counted with our sisters. Watch the film above, and on womenforwomen.org.uk.
“Sisterhood is a balm for the soul and a medicine for the wounds I have received. We rejoice together, we exchange secrets and celebrate together.” Reem, Syrian Refugee and Women for Women International programme graduate, Kurdistan Region of Iraq
With unprecedented levels of violence against women and hard-fought rights under threat in many parts of the world, there has never been a greater need to show our solidarity. Women for Women International works with women in some of the world’s most dangerous places. Syrian refugees and Yezidi women in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq tell us their families are starving, they have no way to earn money, they are not safe, and are struggling each day with the debilitating effects of extreme trauma.
The notion of sisterhood is core to the work of Women for Women International, which supports some of the most socially-excluded women survivors of war in countries like Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), Nigeria, and Rwanda. Their year-long programme equips women to earn money, regain their confidence and actively participate in their communities.
When a woman joins the programme, Women for Women International brings her together with 24 other women, forming a tight support group that helps to break the isolation caused by war and insecurity. Many go on to form great friendships and business co-operatives with their fellow graduates.
Want to get involved? Here’s how you can:
- Sign up to Women for Women International’s global sisterhood womenforwomen.org.uk/
sisterhood. Join Dame Helen Mirren and Elizabeth Debicki and take a stand against the injustices women survivors of war face
- Share the ‘What is Sisterhood?’ film https://youtu.be/VMkbTnaJoNk
- Discuss what sisterhood means to you using #SheInspiresMe on social media
- Sponsor a woman through Women for Women International’s Programme. Your monthly gifts of £22 could help support her through a year-long training programme that will give her the skills to support her family and transform her life. womenforwomen.org.uk/sponsor-
“Sisterhood is knowing that you are not alone. That is why sisterhood is so important to the work of Women for Women International; because we are supporting women with practical skills, but above all we are showing them that they are not alone. Women come together in classes of 25 and women are sponsored by their sisters in other countries around the world. Sisterhood knows no boundaries, I can care about you even if I will never meet you. Sisterhood is another expression of our joint humanity.” Brita Fernandez Schmidt, Executive Director, Women for Women International – UK
Since 1993, Women for Women International has supported over 462,000 of the most socially-excluded women survivors of war in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq where it recently began to support Yezidi, Syrian and Iraqi women affected by the conflict in the region. Through Women for Women International’s 12-month programme, women learn about their rights, as well as key life, vocational and business skills to access livelihoods and break free from trauma and poverty. womenforwomen.org.uk, facebook.com/WomenforWomenUK, youtube.com/user/