Haircuts to human rights: the charity helping women in war-torn countries

Liz Ford – Guardian – Monday, 09 December 2013 (originally published 03 Dec)

Nigerian woman with hat
Women for Women International has helped 380,00 women around the world, including this Nigerian woman who has set up her own knitting business. Photograph: Women for Women

Since Women for Women International (WFWI) was founded 20 years ago, more than 380,000 women in war-torn countries have received practical and emotional support from the charity, with training courses in a range of vocations from hairdressing to beekeeping to advice on human rights.

In New York tonight, former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton will be honored at a gala dinner attended by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and designer Donna Karan celebrating 20 years of the charity set up by Zainab Salbi after she read of the horrors of the rape camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina. A report conducted by KPMG, published last September , found WFWI’s work had greatly improved economic opportunities for women, improved their health and had reduced levels of domestic and sexual violence in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Sudan. Here we profile some of the 380,000 beneficiaries:

Zarghuna, 40, Kabul, AfghanistanZarghuna was six when her family forced her to marry her nine-year-old cousin to settle a family dispute. Despite the initial hardship, she grew to love her husband and at 16 gave birth to a daughter. When her husband was suddenly killed, she twice tried to kill herself . . .

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