Campaign successfully funded on: 29 Nov,2015
From the beginning of the peaceful Syrian revolution, and even in the face of the violence that followed, Syrian women have risked their lives to build peace in their country. Their stories are extraordinary and should be told to the whole world.
They have re-opened schools and founded new schools in areas where this has been next to impossible. They have brought together religious and ethnic groups that had tension, and gotten humanitarian aid into besieged areas. They have peacefully protested dictatorship, stood up to armed groups to demand the release of political prisoners and negotiated for ceasefires. And they have held their families and communities together as all around them is threatened and destroyed.
At this very moment, and with most of their stories going untold, Syrian women are taking on risks as they move and migrate to safer places for their families.
I Am She is a network of over 25 peace circles (community-based women’s groups) led by Syrian women. They aim to increase women’s political, economic, social, and cultural participation in order to achieve peace, freedom, justice, representation, and transparency for all Syrians.
Through this project the I Am She network will create a series of five videos that inspire and empower Syrian women to keep working for peace in Syria and fighting for a better future for their families.
The videos will honor them by telling their stories, inspiring and empowering other Syrian women to participate. The videos will also inform the world about the amazing work of Syrian women, and inspire them to see Syrian women as leaders and as a crucial part of the solution for a peaceful future in Syria.Syrian women are lifting up their voices; will we listen?
Our goal is to raise $15,000. With $3,500 we will purchase video equipment (camera, microphone, etc.). With $10,000 we will pay to have the videos filmed and edited. And with the rest we will say thank you to our generous donors in the following ways:
-All donations of $25 or more will be personally thanked on I Am She’s Facebook page, so that a network of over 10,000 Syrian women leaders and their supporters will know that you are in solidarity with them.
-In addition, donations of $100 will receive an I Am She poster signed by the I Am She team.
-In addition, donations of $500 will receive an I Am She scarf.
-In addition, donations of $1,000 will be thanked in the credits of each video along with our partners.-In addition, donations of $15,000 will receive an invitation to the next I Am She conference in Turkey or Lebanon.
Since 2013, the I Am She Network has helped over 500 women form more than 25 peace circles all around Syria. It has supported them with training and brought them together to share knowledge and inspire each other. Each peace circle has taken on projects that transform their communities for the better, bringing hope and healing. Here are some of their stories:
Even if you cannot make a financial donation your support and help is appreciated.
- Spread the word about this campaign to your family and friends!
· Join I Am She online and be part of this network of amazing people: https://www.facebook.com/I.am.she.sy?fref=ts
· Be in solidarity with women from Zabadani who are risking their lives to demand an end to the violence in their area: http://ccsdsyria.org/zabadani-womens-initiative/
· Keep your eye out for the videos when they are published, and share them with your networks!
We have 10 days to go and we have raised just over half of our goal of $6,000! Thank you so much for your donations.
It is not too late to promote the campaign with family, friends and colleagues! If you haven't done that yet, please consider posting on Facebook, sending an email around, or mentioning it in a conversation.
We are convinced that if we can tell the stories of peacemakers like the ones in our I Am She network, something positive can happen.
Peace and solidarity,
Thanks for that last push on donations! We are now at 77% of our goal - we've raised just over $4,600 and we have 7 days to go.
Want to let you all know that if the campaign does not reach its full funding goal, then the funds are returned to the original funders. So if you haven't encouraged your friends and family and colleagues and neighbors to donate, please do that now. Any amount will help - $10, $25, whatever folks can afford!
Love and peace,
Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who are celebrating it today! Wishing you and your families peace and plenty. We are truly grateful you connected with us and supported us.
I wanted to let you know that some people have told me they got an error message when they tried to donate. I have contacted the Zoomaal support people about this and it hopefully will not happen.
Please try donating again if you tried and couldn't get through! But if you prefer, you can just email me directly (email@example.com) with your name and the amount you want to pledge. I will record it in the system as a pledge so that i counts toward the goal, and we can work out the best way for you to send the money on a case by case basis.
Josie & the Women for the Future of Syria team
You helped us accomplish our goal of raising $6,000. We are so grateful, and excited to begin the project.
It is not too late to donate!! There are two days left, and the more money we raise, the more we can do.
And for those of you who have the time/inclination to keep reading... here is an example of the type of story from the network we want to share with the world.
SOLIDARITY WITH ZABADANI
Women community leaders in Syria are going to great lengths to call for peace – even when their lives are at risk.
For over three and a half years the city of Zabadani, in the southwest of Syria, has been besieged by the Syrian government. Zabadani’s residents were originally attacked by the Syrian government for rising up peacefully to demand human rights and democracy as part of the non-violent movement that started in March, 2011.
Since July, 2015 the siege took a critical turn, with the Assad government and Hezbollah militias hitting the area with more than 3,000 barrel bombs, and tens of thousands of rockets, missiles and shells. More than 22,000 civilians were trapped outside the city without access to food, water or medicine.
Despite this desperate situation, the women of Zabadani did not give up hope. Nearly 500 women from Zabadani risked their lives by publicly signing their names to a statement demanding to Stop the Violence. Click here to see the statement. Part of their strategy was to gather signatures from other Syrian women all over the country who are in solidarity with them. Click here to see the solidarity statement, which was signed by nearly 3,000 women.
Here is the account from a peace circle member across the country in an ISIS held area about her effort to be in solidarity with the women of Zabadani, at great effort and personal risk.
With the black flags [of ISIS] fluttering all around, a woman tells us how she managed to send signatures from women in her area in solidarity with the Zabadani Women’s initiative, an act that could result in punishment or even death under the Islamic State.
“I received the photo [of the Zabadani Women’s Initiative Statement] on WhatsApp as it is the only way to contact us in this area. I can’t use a PC due to poor internet access. At dawn, on the rooftop, I managed with difficulty to download that photo. Using different creative tactics, I collected signatures. To send them, I had to travel to somewhere that had internet access. I had to wait for one of the family’s men to accompany me as I can’t travel without a male chaperone. I was able to do that, thank God!”Love and peace,
Josie and the WFS team
Wanted to let you all know that the Women for the Future of Syria team is in the process of discussing our timeline for moving forward with the project and we'll get back to you when it's more defined.
Check out this beautiful graphic that Samo, WFS Coordinator, created and posted on the I Am She Facebook page to say thank you!
If you have any questions or want to find out more about how the project is progressing, don't hesitate to contact me - happy to be in touch with all of you about this project that YOU made happen.
Some other quick updates:
Peace and love,
Josie and the WFS team
Happy new year to all of you! Wishing you peace, love and health in 2016.
Writing to let you know that the bank has been unable to process many of your donations. This means that to make sure your donation is completed you will have to enter your credit card information again.
You can do this by clicking on "Fix the Problem" in the email that you hopefully received from Zoomaal to let you know. The email would have been from Zoomaal and the subject would be "Please fix: Payment to project failed".
If you didn't receive an email like that, it should mean that everything went smoothly with your donation.
So sorry for the inconvenience! And thank you again for your support - we will be starting to map out the project plan soon, and will send you updates.
Apologies for not keeping you updated the past few weeks! The Women for the Future of Syria program has had some exciting activities keeping us busy.
We just completed a conference in Gaziantep, Turkey that brought together civil society activists and others to discuss what we can do to reduce or end child marriage in Syria and the refugee communities. This problem has been growing, and while it may seem like an impossible thing to tackle, women in the I Am She network as well as others met to discuss solutions. Some of the peace circles have done campaigns that were successful in reducing the problem in their communities, so they have a lot to share.
We will be meeting to kick off the video project soon, and will let you know how it’s moving forward!
The WFS team
PS – hope the posters arrived safely to those of you who got them – if not, don’t hesitate to let us know. We will have scarves for some of you soon, and will send them as soon as we get them!
Dear friends and donors to the peace circles,
We want to again send a big thanks to you for the support you gave the I Am She network of peace circles, we will always be grateful to you for that.
We also want to say that we are so sorry for being late in making the videos. The peace circles have been busy doing amazing work, and we want to share with you some of their success stories (see below for an infographic with more information):
· Some circles have succeeded in getting women into decision-making positions in their communities – for example, in their local councils in Aleppo and Idlib.
· Some have continued their awareness raising campaigns on women’s rights, reaching hundreds of other women.
· They are organizing against violence against women with education and media campaigns, including one campaign against child marriage in an area controlled by extremists.
· They are still participating in local activities to get their voices and the voices of women in their communities into the political/peace process.
We want to share some of the reasons we have been delayed. The security situation in Syria has been very bad in the past months – even worse than previously - due to bombing by Russia and the Syrian government, as well the presence of extremists who have gained a lot of ground. The political situation in Turkey also became unstable.
Despite all this, we are happy to let you know that we have begun the project! We are discussing the plan and the scenarios for the films, here in our headquarters in Gaziantep with the Women for the Future staff team, and also with the peace circle leaders. We have not started filming yet, but hope to have much of the videos filmed by the end of the year. It will be very challenging to film within Syria in a way that is safe for the peace circles, but we are exploring the ways we might be able to do that.
The important thing is to never give up on getting their stories out to the world.
If you want any other detail, please let us know! We will be happy to let you know more.
Alwan & The WFS Team