UK Charity Registration Number: 1115109
WOMEN FOR WOMEN INTERNATIONAL
We have been working with the charity Women for Women International since 2016, as part of our #MVGiving campaign. Women for Women International helps women survivors of war to rebuild their lives.
On behalf of Mint Velvet, our founders Liz, Lisa and Jane have each sponsored a sister: Berthe, Naminani and Nzigire from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to go through Women for Women International’s year-long training programme. During the training, the three women learned about economic empowerment, health and rights, as well as focusing on building their own support networks.
Over the course of the year, our founders exchanged letters with their sisters and developed a personal connection. Knowing that there is someone out there, supporting and wishing them to succeed brings additional confidence and strength to the women survivors of war we support. We wanted to share two of these letters with you – from our founder, Liz, and her sponsored sister, Berthe.
I am so happy to hear from you. My name is Berthe Bukoma. I am 44 years old and I was born in Ciduha in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am the youngest of fifteen children, but sadly only seven of my siblings survived. I didn’t have the opportunity to go to school, only my brothers were allowed to attend, and I was married at the age of 16. Together with my ex-husband we had eleven children (five girls and six boys). Three of them are already married and the rest are in school.
Life with my ex-husband was difficult. He sold some homes that I had built without my consent. I tried to reclaim them but haven’t been successful. I lost everything, but I am not giving up.
I learned about the Women for Women International programme from my neighbour who is a graduate herself. She shared her experiences and encouraged me to join. I enjoyed the training and found learning about decision making, health, and income management very interesting. I decided to focus on agribusiness for my vocational skills training.
One of the most important topics we covered was income saving. This helped me because I used to rely on my husband for my income and I would distribute my earnings around my family and friends without thinking about the future. Now I know how to budget which is very helpful. I also learned how to care for my children and myself. Thank you for the stipend you sent me and for supporting my training, I am so grateful.
I can’t believe how a year has flown and you are now set to graduate from the programme in a matter of weeks! I hope your final module went well and provided you with plenty more skills to create the social networks that are such vital safety nets for you and other women around you. With all of your new-found skills and the support needed to thrive, I am sure your future will be a bright one.
I wish you, your family and friends good health, and want to extend my heartfelt congratulations for all you have achieved. I’m so happy that you can now use your new skills to inform and help other women in your position, so they can understand their rights and build better lives.
Sending you blessings and a big hug and smile.
Sponsoring a sister is so much more than a financial donation. Building personal connections between women around the world, and reaching out to say, ‘You are not forgotten’, is at the heart of Women for Women International.
You can help a woman like Berthe as she rebuilds her life by sponsoring a sister today. Your monthly gift of £22 will allow her to join a year-long training programme that will give her the skills to support her family and transform her life. Join us and sponsor a sister today.