Reintroducing Darfur Women Network

Darfur Women Network, Inc. (DWN) has big news and we are excited to share it with you!

Darfur Women Network is the only non-profit organization founded by Darfuri immigrants working in both the United States and in Chad. As representatives of the refugee women, girls and families displaced by the Darfur conflict, it is our responsibility to them and our duty to increase public awareness about this conflict in the most effective way possible. With this in mind, our volunteers have developed new ways to get that message out! That is why we are pleased to announce the rollout of our new website and social media outlets. With these improvements we can now provide information and updates more quickly, spread our message more effectively and engage the public in new ways.

We fight for hope here at the Darfur Women Network! Recently DWN, launched a campaign of Hope shared across several social media outlets. The mission of our Hope Campaign, established by DWN, is to encourage the public to stand with us by engaging on social media and share messages of inspiration and hope with refugee women, girls and families. We invite you to share your message of Hope through a short message, video, song, art or writing with the hashtags #HopeForDarfur #TweetForDarfur and #DWN. Even if you do not have a message to provide, simply sharing our mission and campaign with others is just as important. What better way to show support than to rally for hope and empowerment of the brave refugees who have endured so much and still continue to forge ahead?

Whether you have been a long time supporter of DWN or are just now getting to know us, we welcome you and encourage you to visit our updated website, follow and engage with us on social media, and join us as we campaign for the empowerment of Darfuri women.

To hear about our team, the impact the Darfur Women Network has already made, and the plans we have for the future, please read the following letter written by our founder and leader, Darfur native, Mastora Bakhiet:

Photo Courtesy of UNAMID

Dear Friends and Supporters,

On behalf of Darfur Women Network, Inc. (DWN), I would like to express my gratitude for the hard work and dedication from our board of directors and volunteers. We are grateful for the generosity of our donors, and the never-ending effort and patience of our supporters and clients for their commitment to assist and empower the survivors of the Darfur genocide.

DWN works with both refugees in Chad and those who have immigrated to the United States. We specifically work with women and girls to improve their lives by focusing on education, awareness, and empowerment. We provide specialized programming that will improve refugee health and wellness, better protection and safety, economic empowerment and financial self-sufficiency, ecological restoration in and around refugee camps, encourage personal transformation and social change within the refugee communities. In order to share our programs and encourage others to help us with our mission, we have expanded our reach by redeveloping our online presence, adding new outlets for communication and interaction and refocusing our awareness campaigns.

In January, I promised that we would strive to increase our volunteer staff in order to reach out to more Darfur refugee mothers. Our commitment to safety and assistance for refugee mothers continues with our program, 7,000 Safe Stoves for Darfur Refugee Mothers. Prior to the implementation of this program, Darfuri women in the Touloum refugee camp were forced to make daily trips for firewood that, according to the UN Human Right’s Council, put them at “risk of sexual assault and rape from local militia and men residing near their camps.” In light of these safety concerns, DWN developed and distributed the “safe stove.” Built by refugees with local materials, these “safe stoves” have reduced firewood collection by 75%, smoke inhalation health risks, and open fire hazards within the camps.

To date, 400 stoves have been distributed to widows and the poorest mothers in Touloum camp. Our mission is to provide all 7,000 families in the camp with this technology and, by the end of 2015, use field study research to measure the effectiveness of the project. Additionally, we plan to distribute more than 1,000 “safe stoves” in January 2016.

We will also complete inventory management training with the women in the camp and set-up four groups of 20 women with soap making materials to provide hygiene supplies for the camp. Soapmaking, the Safe Stoves Program, and other programs encourage financial independence and stability for those who are still struggling to provide for their families. Our College Preparation Program for refugee immigrants in the United States continues to assist students with specialized tutoring and mentoring, while providing resources for advanced placement practice tests encouraged by universities. Currently, four students from Butler University Indianapolis have committed to teach our students SAT, ECA, English, and Math in addition to English Conversation with immigrant adults, beginning September 27, 2015. Darfur Women Network has recently partnered with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC) and Immigrant Welcome Center in Indianapolis to provide the Nutrition & Fitness Program for immigrants who have relocated to the United States. Our nutrition and fitness services help immigrant women learn about healthier lifestyles options including physical fitness and preparing more nutritious meals for themselves and their families. This program begins September 28, 2015 at the CIC facility. Please visit our Programs page online to learn more.

Sincerely,

Mastora Bakhiet
Executive Director
Darfur Women Network, Inc.

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