Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, December 03, 2007

Iraqi-American helping women in war-torn nations

Zainab Salbi grew up in harsh conditions in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. With $400, she escaped to the United States, but she never forgot about the constant hardship faced by Iraqi women, and other women throughout the world. Today, Salbi has helped more than 120,000 women worldwide through Women for Women International, the organization she established in 1993. Children’s rights activists Craig and Marc Kielburger tell Salbi’s story in an op-ed in today’s Toronto Star.

They write of Salbi: “She was driven by a simple mission: to give women in war-torn countries like hers the chance to rebuild their shattered lives.”

Salbi comments: “In the news we only hear about security problems, not the economic reality of people.”

As the article notes: “Females are often forced to bear the biggest economic brunt of war. With husbands caught up in fighting, women become their family’s sole provider. Without an education or job - rights often denied to them in male-dominated cultures – many fall into poverty.

Others are even less fortunate and become the target of rape and sexual slavery, as was the case with thousands of women in Bosnia.

So, Women for Women offers war-affected females a one-year rehabilitation program, complete with direct financial aid, human rights awareness training, job skills mentorship, and even micro-credit loans to help them start small businesses and become active members of their communities.

Since 1993, the organization has empowered more than 120,000 women in countries like Rwanda, Kosovo, Sudan and Afghanistan, through a unique sponsorship program that pairs women in countries like Canada with ones suffering the horrors of war.”

“The most important factor of success is not abandoning them,” Salbi says.

For full article, click here



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