First Steps Women’s Centre

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In case you missed it, last Friday we launched our new series Hope Beyond the Headlines where we will be sharing inspiring stories to help us all get through these difficult times.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be speaking with members of our global Women for Women International family, who will share how thanks to your support we are continuing to support women survivors of war during the global Coronavirus pandemic.

For our first conversation, we spoke to Shan Sherwan Hussein, who is our Economic Empowerment Manager in Iraq.

Shan shared her experience of working with women in Iraq and how our teams are using technology to keep in touch with our participants since the lockdown implemented by the government earlier this month. Shan says: 

"The women really inspire me. I recently received a letter from one woman, Sheikhan, who was enrolled in our programme. She has taken this time to reflect on what she has learned in the classes. She wrote us a letter saying, 'Now more than ever I realise how important it is for me to have my own income and to have some savings on the side, so it will help my family to adjust to unexpected situations like this – if you were not here, what would we do?'”

Despite having already experienced the unimaginable, our programme participants show incredible resilience and creativity. They are finding new ways to keep themselves busy and making the most of this challenging situation, whilst hoping that our programme will re-open soon.

We hope you will enjoy listening to Shan and will continue to follow us on social media for more positive stories. In the meantime, help us spread some hope by sharing the video with your family and friends!

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Last year you helped us:

  • Achieve an amazing new mile-stone – we have reached over half a million women in war-torn countries since 1993.
  • Send thousands of messages of support to women survivors of war for International Women’s Day.
  • Re-establish our programme in South Sudan three years after we were forced to suspend due to an outbreak of conflict.
  • Announce life-changing partnerships with Charlotte Tilbury Beauty and players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
  • Host a high-level event at the UN Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New York.
  • Your support made all this possible – we couldn’t do it without you!

Have a look at some of our favourite moments from 2019!


On behalf of the women we serve and everyone at Women for Women International, thank you so much for helping us achieve these incredible things last year.

2020 is a crucial year for women's rights and we are going to need your support more than ever so follow us on social media to keep up-to-date on how you can get involved.


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Your donation will be doubled – for this week only

“I want them to see that I am still alive, that they did not kill me, not my body, not my soul.”

Safeta knew the soldiers who raped and tortured her. Before conflict erupted in Bosnia and Herzegovina she would see them nearly every day. They were her neighbours.

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chirstmas shopping inspiration

As the countdown to Christmas begins, we have rounded up the best gifts for the global sisterhood in our Feminist Gift Guide!

Whether you’re buying for a special someone or looking to treat yourself, these gifts not only have the power to delight but will also make a real difference for women survivors of war. Click on the above picture for more information.

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Friday Focus:   5 years on, Yezidi women enslaved and raped by ISIS face an unbearable dilemma

Friday Focus Women for Women

Five years ago, in August 2014, ISIS fighters launched a genocidal attack on the Yezidi religious minority in Sinjar, northern Iraq.

Women and girls were raped, enslaved and forced to endure unspeakable atrocities. They saw their husbands and sons tortured and killed. Survivors fled to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, setting up makeshift homes in displaced persons camps. Half a decade later, the majority are still there.


Join our Patron Dame Helen Mirren and send a #MessageToMySister between 1st – 8th March. You can send a message online at

You can also share a message of support on social media using #MessageToMySister and tagging @womenforwomenUK.

We will deliver the messages directly to women in our programmes in countries affected by conflict – showing that there are men and women all around the world who care. 

IWD postcard

We know how powerful it is for a woman survivor of war to hear the words: you are not alone.

That’s why this International Women’s Day, we’re organising a very special delivery.

We’re asking people like you, all over the world, to send a #MessageToMySister – just a few simple words on a postcard, to express solidarity and support for women living in some of the world’s most dangerous places.

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This Project is part-funded by the European Union and the Department of Employment and Learning