Candina Weston

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Fundraising for Women for Women International UK
raised of US$5,000 target


Women on a Mission to Trek Across Kyrgyzstan in Support of Women Survivors of War An independent, self-funded team of twelve women from around the world, under the banner of Women on a Mission (WOAM), a non-profit organisation headquartered in Singapore that supports and empowers women survivors of war and violence, will embark on a twelve-day expedition to Kyrgyzstan in September 2022. For this next expedition, WOAM’s 11th to date, the team will trek 150km on foot in just eight days across mountainous landscapes, between 2,500 and 4,000 metres in elevation, while camping on the trail, or staying with local nomadic families in their yurts. The expedition’s objective is to raise $100,000 USD for women survivors of war in Ukraine, Afghanistan and Syria via Women for Women International – UK, an organisation that works with some of the most marginalised women in the world helping them to transform their lives. Since 2002, Women for Women International has served more than 120,000 women in Afghanistan, providing women with the tools and resources to build a sustainable future for themselves and their families. After pausing the programmes for security reasons in August 2021, the organisation has now reopened their first training centre in Afghanistan. Women for Women International primarily serves women survivors of conflict and war in eight countries where they’ve established dedicated offices and staff to deliver their year-long Stronger Women, Stronger Nations programme. They also recognise women need urgent support when caught in the midst of conflict. Established in 2018, the Conflict Response Fund is a mechanism that allows Women for Women International to respond quickly when women are most in need, to help prevent and heal the trauma they experience during war. Through a non-partisan approach and responsive grants, Women for Women International is able to track crises in real time, identify credible partners on the ground and allocate resources to meet the needs of women survivors, no matter what side of a conflict they are on. Through the Ukraine Conflict Response Fund, Women for Women International team have identified their first priority partners on the ground, working to support the overlooked needs of women affected by the current conflict, who are now exposed to extreme violence, abuse and the risk of human trafficking. In Syria. In partnership with Women Now for Development, they are investing in opportunities for Syrian women and girls to rebuild their lives. WOAM, now in its 10th year of operation, has raised over $1,000,000 US dollars to date, to support organisations that advance the position of women around the world. In addition to Women for Women International, the team also champions and has raised funds for the following charities: International Justice Mission, UN Women, AWARE - Singapore’s leading gender equality advocacy group and Pertapis Home for Women and Girls in Singapore. The past ten WOAM expeditions have been to regions of the Himalayas, the Middle East, Africa, Mongolia, South East Asia and the Arctic Circle. Sara Bowcutt, Managing Director of Women for Women International - UK stated, “The women we work with live in some of the world’s most dangerous places – it can be hard for us to imagine their daily challenges. I find it so inspiring that WOAM push themselves far outside their comfort zone in order to raise money and awareness for women survivors of war. Each trek they take on is just as challenging as the last, and WOAM members truly go the extra mile to leverage their networks and raise incredible sums of money, which make a real difference to the women we serve.” Kyrgyzstan, one of central Asia’s most fascinating countries, is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, China to the east, Tajikistan to the south, and Uzbekistan to the west. It is a destination renowned for its breath-taking scenery and rich nomadic culture. From Soviet-era Bishkek, to the stunning Tien Shan mountain range and the ancient Silk Road, the women will explore dramatic gorges and splashing rivers, trek through lush forests and climb up to mountain passes as high as 4,000 metres in altitude, where they will enjoy stunning views of Lake Issyk Kul, the seventh deepest lake in the world. Furthermore, Kyrgyzstan is one of the least populated countries on earth, with less than 30 people per square kilometres of land. Mountains cover 80% of Kyrgyzstan and the country’s nickname is “the Switzerland of Central Asia”. The nation's largest ethnic group are the Kyrgyz, a Turkic people, which comprise 70.9% of the population. Other ethnic groups include Russians (9.0%) concentrated in the north and Uzbeks (14.5%) living in the south. The team’s journey certainly promises to be a breath-taking experience even if challenging. Finally, upon their return to Bishkek, the group will visit a women’s centre for survivors of domestic violence. The WOAM team will meet with the social workers running the centre to learn about the issues facing women in Kyrgyzstan. Additionally, the teammates will conduct leadership development and entrepreneurship workshops so as to share their own diverse life and career experiences with the women at the centre. Ultimately, WOAM’s objective is to inspire women to want to leave their comfort zone, their families and homes for a certain period of time, while pushing their limits in an effort to rally support for a worthy cause. At the core of their culture is a passion for adventure and a deep respect and love of nature. They seek to travel and explore the world, and as a result make new discoveries, flourish as individuals, but most importantly, contribute to society. By travelling in such challenging conditions, WOAM hopes to bring international attention to the need for societies, governments and corporations to get involved and help end violence against women. WOAM Co-Founder Christine Amour-Levar stated “Through our efforts we want to reach out to the women who are often left behind – those who struggle with poverty and violence, who are denied basic education and health care, and whose lives have been devastated by conflict.” WOAM Co-Founder Valerie Boffy added “By raising funds for Women for Women International, we hope to support women survivors of war around the world who have quite literally lost everything. With over twenty brutal armed conflicts across the globe and unprecedented levels of violence against women, there has never been a greater need to support such initiatives that change the world, one woman at a time.”

About the charity

Women for Women International supports women who live in some of the world’s most dangerous places. Women enrol on the charity’s year-long training programme, where they learn how to earn and save money, improve their family’s health and make their voices heard at home and in their community.

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