Russian Crisis Centers for Women

This month the Global Fund will be sending over $1.5 million to 129 women's human rights organizations around the world. We'll be profiling some of these groups on our blog throughout the month of January.

Our program staff for Europe and the Former Soviet States are proud to send $299,300 this month to 23 organizations in 17 countries in their region. Notable among these groups is The Association of Russian Crisis Centers for Women "Stop Violence."

Since 1994 the Global Fund has supported this group as they work to end domestic violence. In Russia, where violence is often considered a private family matter and not a human rights issue, every fourth woman experiences violence. The Association works to support women who experience violence and to change the culture through a network of 80 non-governmental centers located in 40 cities throughout Russia. Through this network the Association not only works to prevent domestic violence, but also to address sexual violence, trafficking, and provide assistance to women who experience gender discrimination and violence. The Association lobbies for women's rights in both federal and local arenas, and uses mass media to raise awareness about violence against women. In addition to providing services, the network serves as a resource and methodological center for nonprofit organizations conducting regular research and studies.

The Global Fund's $20,000 grant will help the Association start a mobile-phone hotline, develop their website, and create an online forum for those working towards creating a Russia without violence.


Afghan Grantee on NPR

Today's Morning Edition program on NPR featured a story on the increasing number of Afghan women who are taking their own lives. Najia Haneefi, the director of the Afghan Women's Education Centre, told NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, that women in Afghanistan have few options and turn to suicide as a means of escaping the violence they face at home and in society.

Since 1992 the Global Fund has made over $65,000 in grants to Afghan Women's Education Centre.

You can listen to the story here.


21 Leaders for the 21st Century

Women's eNews, our favorite source of daily women's news, opens the new year with a list of 21 leaders for the 21st century. Read about the twenty women, and one man, who were chosen by eNews readers for their remarkable efforts to improve the lives of women around the world. Enjoy!


Ending the Year on a Sweet Note

Here is a beautiful holiday letter we received this week in response to our most recent e-Bulletin . The author, Jane Vulimu Angonga, is the general secretary of grantee group, Tumaini Self Help Group in Kenya.

Dear Friends,

You sometimes make us to have huge smiles full of love courage, care and sympathy on our faces throughout the whole week and sometimes the whole month. Your love is just too warm that we cannot get the correct words of expressing it. We are indeed touched to the innermost of our hearts to have such great friends, beloved sisters and networking partners as you.

Thank you so much for sending us this case study of the situation in Bosnia. We are overjoyed to learn that you successfully completed your 5 days hard work in Bosnia and you were able to meet activists who did their best to provide shelter specially to women and children during the war. It is good news to us to learn that the war is now over and there is peace that enables our sisters to address all aspects of women rights from basic economic security and opportunity in small towns and rural areas. This greatly fuels our commitment and gives us much courage and hope of empowering women livelihood in the rural areas that we operate. By acting together, sharing ideas and reading case studies of other women's movements in other parts of the world, we develop a strong voice to ensure that women's views are heard and taken into account.

From our experience, ignorance primitivity and violation of human rights are very expensive affairs. Victims of these who in most cases are women, children, disabled people and aged. They suffer physical, psychological, mental and economic harm.

Once more, thank you so much for the Global Fund for Women annual report 2005-2006 . For the past one-week,  we have celebrated and carefully read it sharing a lot of information from the report with members the community and our well-wishers. This report causes a lot of challenges and opportunities to us. It is an eye opener and a positive encouragement to a grassroot women movement as Tumaini Self Help Group. Through the report we have realized that the Global Fund for Women supports  a big family all over the world. We greatly appreciate the 2006 grant that  has actually played a critical role in improving women livelihood through the rural women savings and credit scheme. To date, over 53 women who were initially very poor with no income at all , gradually improved their livelihood immediately after gaining access to Tumaini self Help Group financial support.

Today, the are successful business women with an average daily income of $2 per day. Also they have other possibilities of generating  income and assisting other community members especially women and girls who are in deep poverty. This is a good start of the seed capital planted in Tumaini by the Global Fund for Women in February 2006. We are very proud to say that Tumaini is fertile in terms of skills that made the seed capital to germinate 100 percent, and it is growing at a high rate due to effective management.

This success has contributed to an increase in membership .Every day we receive over twenty letters from women and men who want to join our organisation...And every morning we receive over ten women /children who come to seek for our advice. Demand for our services has indeed increased to a level that more funds are required. Also we have intensified our programmes that promote women's economic independency, health, safety, education and leadership. With your support, we are determined to succeed and reach more women .

As you said in your letter, grantees and donors are not afraid to stand with us and give a helping hand. We take this opportunity to assure you that, we are not afraid of saying the truth about problems facing women. We shall never shy off even at gunpoint

May Christmas fill your world with all that is happiest and may you find the coming year holding added pleasure. Until then, we wish you the best, and may the Lord bless you abundantly.

Yours faithfully,

Jane Vulimu Angonga
General Secretary
Tumaini Self Help Group.


The Tsunami Learning Project

Two years after the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of December 2004 -- the deadliest natural disaster in recorded history -- communities still struggle with the aftermath. Today, grassroots women's groups in Aceh, Indonesia are using grants from the Global Fund for Women to continue the rebuilding process in innovative ways.

Founded days after the tsunami hit by Acehnese women, Pusat Pemberdayaan Perempuan, is using Global Fund support to organize female "small traders" who make their living selling wares on the sidewalks around the central market in Banda Aceh. Another grantee,  Yayasan Keulama, has combined humanitarian relief efforts with human rights advocacy, and is working to to challenge what the group describes as the unquestioned, and increasingly strict, application of Islamic Sharia in ways that severely limit women's rights in post-tsunami Aceh.

The Global Fund for Women's post-tsunami grantmaking is profiled in a new report, released by Grantmakers Without Borders that explores social change and human rights-based responses to natural disasters.

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