In my Band of Sisters series a family of dedicated women and supportive men fight for positive and lasting change in the world. There are countless real-life heroes who are doing the hard work of standing up against violence and sexual abuse. Women like Sunitha Krishnan of India and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia. Below you’ll find a list of organizations that are creating change in the world. If you’d like to learn more, join our Band of Sisters!
By filling out the two boxes on your right, you’ll receive a quarterly newsletters featuring a real-life warrior women from around the world, along with news and events from our fictional warrior women and their author. If you’d like to add someone to the list or the featured article, please don’t hesitate to reach out through the contact form on this website.
Real Life Warrior Women
An outspoken critic against human trafficking, Indian social activist Sunitha Krishnan runs Prajwala a pioneering organization that educates and trains women who have been the victims of sex-trafficking and sex crimes. According to the Prajwala website, “Prajwala works on the five pillars of Prevention, Protection, Rescue, Rehabilitation & Reintegration. In the last one decade it has become one of the most powerful voices nationally and globally for ensuring holistic victim services.”
Nadia Murad’s Yazidi village in Iraq was attacked by ISIS in 2014. Her family, including her six brothers, were murdered. She was taken captive and held as a sex-slave. After Nadia escaped she joined Yazda.org an organization that works, in part, to heal and reintegrate women sex-trafficked by ISIS in the Middle East. It also works to halt the genocide, seek justice through legal action, and mark this horrible tragedy for history of the Yazidi people, a religious minority in Iraq. In addition to Nadia’s work with Yazda.org, she went on to found Nadia’s Initiative which, through the “The Sinjar Action Fund.” (SAF), seeks to redevelop the Sinjar region so that the Yazidi can return home. According to her website, “The first priorities…include a commitment to de-mining, which is already underway. The Sinjar Action Fund is open to all nation-states, non-governmental organizations, and individuals… willing to contribute.”
Author, activist, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian, mother of four, and a highly-educated woman who has broken down barriers and who changed the violent direction of her country. In addition to promoting and bringing about peace for her country, Leymah works to educate and inspire West African girls. Gbowee Peace Foundation, a fantastic organization dedicated to educating girls to, “Unlock the wisdom of girls.” As stated on their website, the Gbowee Peace Foundation, “mobilizes resources to support grassroots organizations that increase access to education and development for women and girls in West Africa, with a particular focus on making strategic investments in the work of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa in Liberia.”
WomenOne is a global organization that researches and identifies the places where education for women is most needed and then focuses on those areas. According to their website, “WomenOne takes a rights-based approach to women’s and girls’ education. We focus on enabling women and girls to pursue their right to education by eliminating the barriers they face and ensuring that our activities and programs are innovative, evidence-based and sustainable.”
Equality Now is an initiative designed to make changes to the laws that positively impact the lives of women globally. This robust community of lawyers, activists, and supporters are changing the world one law at a time. They have influenced policy makers and governments, have changed the lives of trafficking women and children. Here is their wonderful mission as stated on their website, “The law is a statement of your worth by your government. Laws that treat men and women, girls and boys unequally relegate women and girls to a lower status in society. Failure to outlaw practices that harm women and girls leaves them with no recourse for violations against them. The law is the way to hold your government accountable for your protection.” – YASMEEN HASSAN, GLOBAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EQUALITY NOW
CAMFED is an essential organization that supports and nurtures women and girls in the poorest rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. For over two decades this organization has educated women and lifted them from poverty. According to their website, “Since 1993, Camfed’s innovative education programs in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi have directly supported more than 1.9 million students to attend primary and secondary school, and more nearly 4.5 million children have benefited from an improved learning environment.”
GEMS In I AM JUSTICE the male lead works with an organization along the Syria/Jordan border called Salma’s Gems. This name was inspired by my research into sexual exploitation and trafficking. GEMS heroic organization is worth supporting and checking out, so please follow the link. Here is their history as taken from their website, “GEMS was founded in 1998 by Rachel Lloyd, a young woman who had been sexually exploited as a teenager. Ms. Lloyd came to the U.S in 1997 as a missionary to work with adult women exiting prostitution. While working with adult women in correctional facilities and on the streets, Ms. Lloyd observed the overwhelming need for services for young women at risk for sexual exploitation who were being ignored by traditional social service agencies. It became clear that specialized services were essential for this disenfranchised population.
From a one-woman kitchen table project, GEMS has grown to a nationally recognized and acclaimed organization and now is one of the largest providers of services to commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked youth in the US. GEMS advocates at the local, state and national level to promote policies that support young women who have been commercially sexually exploited and domestically trafficked.”
Save the Children This well-known organization has been saving and caring for children around the world for decades. And it is much needed work. As their website points out, “Millions of children in the U.S. and around the world still aren’t getting what they deserve. We’re talking about children in need. Dying, when the world knows how to save them. Vulnerable children in poverty. Denied an education. Forced to flee violence. Orphaned, abused, abandoned. Children with no reason to smile. No hope for the future.”
Daughters of Eve A non-profit organization that works to stop female genital mutilation, a practice that still exists in many countries today. Because of a disturbing belief that a woman’s sexuality will lead her to be promiscuous, girls are mutilated through FGM in an effort to keep her from experiencing sexual pleasure. As stated on Daughters of Eve website, “female genital mutilation (FGM) as a form of gender-based violence, which therefore reflects and reinforces inequities between men and women and compromises the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims. Daughters of Eve believe that young people need to be supported holistically and work with women and girls should be based on their needs and not the act of violence. Daughters of Eve came about after its founders working with FGM practicing communities for many years identified the need for specialist support and advocate service for young people within these communities.”
Gateways Program is a wonderful residential program in New York that provides a home and treatment to sexually exploited children between the ages of 12 and 16. There are a number of ways for people to become involved–volunteer, mentor, become a foster parent, or donate. This is a worthy cause and the only residential program in the Northeast. According to their website, “Gateways uses a strengths-based youth development model to assist young women in gaining the skills needed to return to the community as productive, independent young adults. Gateways provides a wide range of carefully supervised and structured services such as medical treatment, intensive individual and family therapy as well as art therapy to help these young victims recover from the trauma they have experienced.”
Plan International This group was brought to my attention by a writer friend. According to their website, “Plan International is a global movement for change, mobilizing millions of people around the world to support social justice for children in developing countries. Founded in 1937, we are one of the oldest and largest international development organizations, working in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, we have only one agenda: to improve the lives of children.”