The Gift of Sisterhood on 9/11

by Caitlin Stanton, Senior Program Officer, Learning, Monitoring and Evaluation

On October 23, 2001, a small, battered, plain white envelope arrived at our offices in San Francisco. It was from the women of the Association pour la Défense des Droits de la Femme en Guinée (ADDEF), a grassroots women's group and Global Fund grantee in Conakry, Guinea on the western coast of Africa.

girl with give peace a chance sign

The postmark showed the envelope had been in transit for over a month. Inside, was a fifty-dollar bill and a letter conveying a statement of condolences for those affected by the events of September 11th.

The women of ADDEF, moved by what they heard of the terrorist attacks, each contributed toward this gift of $50 in hopes that it would support those affected by the tremendous tragedy of 9/11, and to ensure that their wishes were respected, Global Fund donated their gift to a special fund established by the New York Women’s Foundation in the wake of 9/11.

“In moments like this, strengthening international sisterhood and bringing women from all nationalities together around the struggle for peace is the only way to respond to violence and destruction.” — Global Fund for Women Board Chair, Jacqueline Pitanguy, September 11th, 2001

A Profound Act of Generosity

Working largely in rural areas, ADDEF was founded by a group of Guinean women who envisioned a different future for their country, which faced one of the lowest literacy rates, and one of the highest poverty rates, in the world. Thus this gift, from a poverty-stricken nation to the wealthiest country in the world, represented not only a profound act of generosity, but also a feeling of solidarity between women separated by a vast ocean but united by their vision for a more just and peaceful world.

Ten years later, New York City is rebuilding, but women in Guinea and elsewhere around the world are still struggling. On this occasion, we remember all the lives lost and changed forever by the tragedy of 9/11 and the wars that followed; but also the incredibly inspiring and courageous women working every day to build a more just and peaceful world.

I challenge you to return ADDEF’s generosity. In recognition of the bonds that still bring people together across borders, please give a gift of $50 toward Global Fund’s work on behalf of women worldwide, or give directly to whatever cause is closest to your heart on this day.


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