Documentary Photography

Documentary photography is a vital tool to communicate an injustice, a social problem, or other current issues.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Zainab Salbi - Women for Women International

Zainab Salbi founder of Women for Women International had a conference with all the Country Directors of her organization in Kigali, Rwanda.  This organization helps women survivors in war torn countries rebuild their lives.  Zainab a compassionate, gracious, beautiful, strong and empowering woman had a vision in 1993, and made this vision her reality. Women who were victims, become survivors and not active citizens.

                                                    Zainab Salbi

The woman love when she comes to visit them, as they know without her vision, their lives would not have changed into what is is today. 


The women are taught to read and write, vocational skills, importance of educating their children, farming, basket weaving, clay pottery and tiles, soap making, jewelry from recycled paper, made into beautiful beaded necklaces and ear rings, tye dying fabrics, and batik. Among many other artistic talents and skills.

After 1 year with the program they are self reliant. They have learned about family law, their rights as women, personal hygiene, prevention of AIDS, how to deal with stress, and many other life changing lessons.  These women become business women, start community centers in their villages for domestic violence. They come in weak and fearful. Then graduate with hope, strength, and self esteem.  They become strong, and courageous women.


The Country Directors of Women for Women International were all in Rwanda, and I had the honor of meeting them all and many of their staff.  Country Directors from Rwanda, Congo, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Nigeria, Sudan, and Iraq.

Kosovo - Hamide Latifi
Nigeria -Ngozi Eze
Their goals are to make women stronger, and with stronger women comes stronger countries.  This organization has changed the lives of over 250,000 women in our world. Which means many children that would have never gotten an education, now will,  the cycle of ignorance is broken.

I attended 2 graduations in Rwanda, from Women for Women International, the women tell their testimonies of how their lives have changed. They share what their life was like before and the progress they have made in 1 year.  These women dance with joy and gratitude, as they are now stronger, know their rights, some have bought their own land, built houses, and opened a business.

                                                               Zainab rocking out......

For some it is an emotional day as they are given certificates with their names on it, for most this is the first time they have ever received anything in their own name.  The women cherish the letters they receive from their sponsors, as these letters from the outside world connect them with hope and love. 
So sponsor a woman for $27.00USD a month and connect with a sister in another country, write to her and she will have someone write back to you.
This not only changes their lives,  yours will change too.  This powerful connection of women around the world, is so empowering and when you think you are having a bad day, think about the day your sister is having and has had. When you have car problems, she's walking in the rain for many miles, to fetch water for her family, a lot of times in bare feet.

We can be the the missing link to a woman's movement that can literally change our world into a more peaceful environment for our children and theirs.  I know I want my grandson Miles to live in a world where violence, torture and rape are horrors of the past generations of ignorance.
Being a photographer, I don't have my photo taken often, but I couldn't resist giving my camera to someone to take one of me and Zainab. 

1 comment:

  1. Sonya - This was certainly a joyous day! I'm so happy you were there to share with all of us! Beautiful women doing beautiful work for beautiful women! Cheryl