THE BLOG

What the #SheInspiresMe Campaign Means to Me

29/01/2016 10:51 GMT | Updated 28/01/2017 10:12 GMT

Ever since I can remember I have been moved by inspiration.

I can trace back the important decisions in my life to the people who have inspired me. And the women who inspire me more than anyone else are the women I have met in the countries where Women for Women International operates.

I have a whole collection of 'most inspirational' women in my heart. One such woman is Fatuma from Rwanda. I remember first seeing her when I arrived in Kigali and she was wearing a bright pink dress and she was dancing and singing with the other women as a way of greeting us. There was something about her that struck me and I wanted to meet her and talk to her. Her story moved me and has inspired me since.

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Fatuma is a Tutsi and was raped by Hutu militia during the Rwandan genocide while she was pregnant. She showed me her scar where militia then cut her belly to kill her baby. I have two daughters and I simply cannot imagine what it must be like to experience something like this. As a result of her rape, Fatuma is HIV positive and has faced so many difficulties since the trauma of what happened to her. She had no real opportunities, and was ostracised by her community. The first time she had access to skills and resources was through the Women for Women International programme. She is now an active member of her community and has slowly come to terms with the horrors of what she experienced.

Fatuma inspires me every day to do what I can to help and to go outside my comfort zone and be brave and bold.

But we are not just launching our #SheInspiresMe campaign to celebrate inspiration but to provide real support to women survivors of war to transform their lives.

I can say confidently that with over twenty brutal armed conflicts across the globe and unprecedented levels of violence against women, there has never been a greater need for this work.

This is compounded by the gross funding gap that surrounds Global Goal 5 which aims to achieve true gender equality and empower women and girls everywhere. Without additional funding, the ambition to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls everywhere will simply not be realised by the 2030 deadline.

This is a crisis which we cannot ignore - because we know that when we invest in women, we inspire change. For more than 20 years our organisation has witnessed the power of what is possible when we work together with women survivors of war to give them the tools they need to transform their lives.

And inspiration is a vital part of the work my colleagues are doing on a daily basis in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and South Sudan. Inspiration gives women the courage and strength to take on new challenges in their lives - like Fatuma from Rwanda who rebuilt her life after suffering the most unimaginable violence. And she in turn will inspire other women in her life and in her community - you can see the ripple effect of inspiration.

And it is that inspiration that the #SheInspiresMe campaign is facilitating - because ultimately we want the campaign to raise funds for women who have suffered the trauma of war, so they can rebuild their lives, and inspire brighter futures for themselves and their families.

What I really love about #SheInspiresMe is that it is a positive campaign. It's about celebrating the fantastic achievements of women all over the world. You can get involved today - please watch this short video and share it with your friends. Join the sisterhood and together we will use the power of our collective voice to support women in war-torn countries.

We all listen to the news every day and we hear about the horrors of sexual violence in conflict, of refugees forced to flee their homes. I want everyone to know that when you are filled with desperation at hearing the news, there is something we can all do to help.