Light in the Darkness of War

In my various interactions with a range of business clients and entrepreneurial creatives through my copywriting consultancy, I have developed an understanding of the common challenges faced in starting and running a business. The struggle of raising funds in a strained economic climate, generating effective marketing strategies to communicate with customers and clients and planning for future growth, present just a few of the hurdles which come with the territory.

So imagine taking on such challenges in addition to the staggering obstacles faced in the legacy of war. In Iraq, one year since the withdrawal of US troops, many civilians contend with an ongoing environment of uncertainty and economic insecurity, subject to the aftermath of air strikes and political and social instability, where women are particularly exposed to economic hardship with little social recognition or independent status.

But these women are not helplessly resigned to their fates. With the help of the Women for Women International ‘Training for Life’ programme, they are actively creating a future on a personal and community level, by developing their inner resources to build their own businesses and vocational skills. In the inspiring short documentary film ‘Hands of Hope’, made by four of the programme graduates, Zainab explains how the programme supported her to learn the skill of tailoring which has enabled her to achieve economic independence.

‘War is the most ugly thing in the world’ she states, ‘it affects people psychologically…our economic situation was a great challenge. Today I have a small tailoring business. I used to have to ask my husband for money to buy things for myself and my children. Today things are different, I have financial independence’.

Women for Women International have launched a campaign to help women like Zainab to foster positive effects on a community with a desire to move forward. Between 25 November and 10 December all donations made to Women for Women International will be matched pound for pound by a generous group of supporters. This means that your gift will benefit twice as many women who are rebuilding their lives after conflict and war. Go to www.womenforwomen.org.uk

In empowering Iraqi women through cooperation from a grassroots approach, this innovative programme enables individuals to grow their potential through their own talents. In acknowledgment of the profound implications of enrolling on the programme Zainab observes, ‘Women’s education is very important. It is light. Ignorance – that is darkness. My dream is to see my daughter follow her dream to one day study pharmacology…I want Iraqi women to stand tall, like palm trees’.

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