On September 15, 2016 NEF held its first women empowering women event in New York City. The event was co-hosted by Linda Jacobs, NEF board member, and the American Task Force for Lebanon.
Remarks were given by Michaela Walsh, the founding president of Women’s World Banking who discussed the amazing things she has seen women accomplish with finite resources, and explained that when we as women lift each other up, our reach is limitless.
Jinane Abou Zeki, NEF’s project lead in Lebanon, gave a presentation on how NEF is helping both Syrian refugee and Lebanese women achieve some level of financial security for themselves and their families. She discussed the holistic approach that NEF takes to help women start income generating activities through life skills and financial literacy, business development and vocational training, start-up cash assistance, and networking and social inclusion platforms.
Jinane, a native of Lebanon, took attendees through the difficult journey of Syrian refugees and the Lebanese communities that are taking them in. This includes dangerously overcrowded living conditions, barriers to legal employment, and access to schooling for refugee children. This is compounded by the societal barriers that women face as they increasingly take on the role of primary income earner for the families.
Sharing that current statistics show that 1 in 5 people in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee with over 1 million Syrian refugees currently displaced in the country, Jinane expressed the importance of the work NEF is doing there and the need to help more women looking for support.
There was great interest by the women in attendance as to how they can take action to help improve the lives of more women who need our help.
The following ideas were discussed:
- Investing in NEF’s work with a tax-deductible donation, so that NEF can continue its work and reach more women in need
- Hosting an event to introduce NEF’s work to your friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances
- Being a “connector” by introducing NEF to other foundations or organizations that you are involved with that could present interesting partnership or funding opportunities
- Asking NEF to organize a work place challenge at your place of employment to raise money to support NEF’s work
- Piloting a person-to-person matching program that would match women in the US with women in Lebanon and Jordan for knowledge sharing and potential sponsorship for their home-based economic activities
Thank you from NEF to the incredibly passionate and action oriented women who attended the event. NEF looks forward to following up on all the great suggestions provided.
For anyone interested in joining our “Women Empowering Women” mailing list to receive updates on action items and on NEF’s work with women and adolescent girls, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click below to view photos from the event and the videos that were shown during the program.