Photo: Women for Women International

Spotlight On… Women for Women International

Olivia Budde and Hannah Thomas tell us about a feminist society.

The “St Andrews Women for Women International” society is a student-run society supporting one of the most valuable NGOs in the world.  

Women for Women International dedicates itself to helping marginalised women in countries that have been affected by war and conflict, by offering them life-changing opportunities. The Women for Women program is a one-year course that brings together a close-knit group of up to 30 women. The course provides women with a safe space in which they learn life, business and vocational skills to help them rebuild and support their families and communities.  Over the course of the year, women are taught important skills such as leadership, negotiating, and networking; in addition to the business skills required to make their skills marketable.

Women receive training on how best to invest their money, grow their economic impact, and make the most of opportunities in their communities. As well as this, they learn practical knowledge about reproductive health, sexual rights, nutrition, and the management of mental health issues. In the final strand of the program, women are given assistance in the area of legal rights in regards to issues such as voting, divorce and domestic abuse. Graduates of the program take this invaluable knowledge back to their communities and share it with as many as possible, meaning the reach and effects of Women for Women International is far greater than we can imagine. 

At Women for Women St Andrews, we aim to support this charity by raising money to sponsor women to complete the program.  It costs approximately £260 to sponsor one woman through the year-long program, but the skills she gains are priceless. As a society, we have so far sponsored 15 women and we aim to support as many more as possible in the coming year. The range of women we support is vast- from Rwanda, to the Congo, to Afghanistan. Marital or familial status is unimportant, and we have supported women from extremely varied backgrounds.  

We are a lively society that has grown tremendously over the past few years. We regularly host open meetings, speaker events, discussion groups, showcases of female talent, and public campaigns. This year we aim big with our highlight events like “Women in the Arts,” charity dinners, a “Women in Sport” pub quiz, bake sales, and so much more. We are an inclusive society and always keen for new members, so if you are interested in joining the society or have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us at [email protected]. You can also keep an eye on our Facebook page and Instagram for details on our upcoming events and progress on our fundraising!  

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