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February & March 2014

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Upcoming Events

    Combating Violence Against Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Disasters through Livelihood Programs
    On March 10th, the Women's Refugee Commission will co-host a panel. For more details, see the article on the Commission on the Status of Women.

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Areas of Work

Home-Based Enterprises: Livelihood Opportunities for Refugee Women in Jordan?

"We can do anything. We have to." The basement is cold and dank. The Iraqi refugee women, huddled around the heater, are fierce. Tough. Reticent. They are struggling to find ways to work, ways to support their families in the place of missing or discouraged husbands. I am here to learn: Are home-based enterprises viable? If so, which sectors provide the most realistic and lucrative opportunities?


I drew lessons from women like Aisha, a Jordanian woman who began making vinegar in her home two years ago. Today she employs eight other women and sells 6,000 bottles per month. Though she is not a refugee, the obstacles that Aisha overcame are all too familiar to Iraqi refugee women. What we learn from them could also benefit Syrian refugees.

From these diverse testimonies, I mapped out obstacles and charted courses around them. How to market goods when your mobility is restricted? How to secure start-up assets without access to banks? The Near East Foundation will implement this road map through start-up grants, business mentoring, women's bazaars and other opportunities.

READ WRC’s senior director of programs Dale Buscher’s blog “Home-Based Enterprises: Livelihood Opportunities for Refugees in Jordan?



You Have Never Met Someone Like Chernor or Mary. This Is Your Chance.

This year’s Voices of Courage honorees have overcome tremendous difficulties to reach out and help other refugees. And you can meet them at the WRC’s 25th Anniversary Luncheon.


Chernor Bah was six years old when civil war struck Sierra Leone.
Between 1992 and 2001, his family fled violence over and over again. By 15 years old, Chernor was a peace activist. Chernor traveled the country, listening to and learning from children. He met them in displacement camps, ex-child combatant care centers and schools. He helped establish the Children’s Forum Network, the first national children’s organization in Sierra Leone. And he presented before Sierra Leone’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission. At the UN, he’s taken this work to a global level. He now leads the youth engagement work of the office of the UN Special Envoy on Education. Through research, reports and advocacy, he has helped countless children worldwide.


Mary Tal, a lawyer in Cameroon, was forced to flee her country in 1998.
Four years later she earned a postgraduate degree in international human rights and humanitarian law/refugee and immigration law.
Using first-hand experience and deep legal knowledge, Mary has helped refugees in South Africa survive and thrive. She has focused on women’s economic security and their integration into a new society. She has helped refugees, including those with disabilities, to find the support they need to survive. She founded and directs the Whole World Women Association to empower African refugee women and children. Her organization teaches leadership, promotes societal integration, raises HIV/AIDS awareness and provides legal assistance.


LEARN MORE about Mary and Chernor, buy tickets to meet them at the luncheon and do much more on our brand-new website: 25yearsleadingchange.org.



Commission on the Status of Women: Let's Hear it for the Girls

Around the world, disaster-affected adolescent girls tell us that making a living safely is among their highest priorities. However, the work they do is often informal, low-paid and dangerous. The global humanitarian community is in desperate need of effective approaches to mitigate the risk of gender-based violence for adolescent girls in emergency settings—while accommodating both their need to earn a safe living and their right to education. 
 
Every spring, the United Nations holds the Commission on the Status of Women. There, representatives from UN Member States evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies. Thousands of nongovernmental organizations  come to New York, holding simultaneous meetings to discuss findings and advocate new actions. On Monday, March 10, the WRC is hosting a “parallel event,” a panel discussion that will launch an interagency initiative on building girls’ livelihood capacity to reduce their risk of gender-based violence. Together with other organizations, we’ll advocate for this approach to be fully integrated into international humanitarian plans after the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015.

JOIN US: Combating Violence Against Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Disasters through Livelihood Programs. March 10, 4:30pm at the Armenian Convention Center, Ballroom #2, 630 2nd Ave, New York, NY.



We Needed You to Keep Families Together. And You Came Through.

Marta, an undocumented migrant, was allowed no phone call. She couldn't meet her attorney. Her children were split among foster homes, and Marta was deported. Her parental rights were terminated.
 
Thanks to generous donors like you, migrant women like Marta will get the help they need.

The WRC had written a guide for detained parents. The Department of Homeland Security promised to put a copy in every single migrant detention center. ...but without $15,000 to design and print, the guide would never become reality. Thanks to your generosity, we made our goal. Thank you!
 
LEARN MORE: Visit our Catapult site to learn more about the ground-breaking project that--thanks to you--will soon be reality.