All-day, every day, around the world, a more gender-balanced world is being forged. For centuries people around the world have been marking March 8th as a special day for women. At the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women, we understand the importance of dedicating this special celebration to Afghanistan and Rwanda’s hard working women. This International day is for honoring the women worldwide who have gone before us. It is a time to reflect on the unity and strength the women in Afghan and Rwanda symbolize when paying it forward in a society that is even further behind us in America.

“As a woman, it is challenging for myself to live and follow my dreams in a country like Afghanistan,” said Nasiba Mohammadi, 2021 PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® student; “It is a miracle, after trying and facing multiple problems, I am now more stable and confident than I was yesterday.” These women come to the PTB program to share their stories of survival and perseverance. From the suffrage the women in Rwanda faced during the 1994 Tutsi Genocide to the security issues with the Taliban in Afghan, these international women seek to learn how to attain independent and financial security on their own. “I dream of a better future for my country through an already existing and accomplished sector with a touch of the younger generation and our ideas,” said Aliane Muhongayire, 2021 PTB student. 

Providing women entrepreneurs resources to break free from the structural barriers or societal constructs that oppress women, among other things, is the only way to move forward. “As a woman, my dream is to expand my business and impact more women and girls by employing and training them on how to “start small and grow big” with little you have,” said Elyse Mukanteko, 2021 PTB student. IEEW believes that when a woman is educated, you educate a nation. The PTB program teaches women who have suffered and continue to suffer brutal atrocities, such as decades of oppression and the horrors of the genocide, how to move forward. Through our program, women business owners from Rwanda and Afghan can share their stories and journeys in a safe place where everyone’s goal is to one day live in a world where women are held at the same standards as men and not merely as a source of reproduction. IEEW honors these groundbreaking women who connect females globally and inspires futures. It acknowledges the challenges women have overcome, encourages women to further achievements, and reminds us of goals we as women are still working towards. 

“My struggle with life as a single mother living in a war-torn country has taught me a lot and has made me very strong. Now I think it is my turn to support other women in my community and country as a whole to live a better life than I have lived,” said Pashtoon Amiri, 2021 PTB student.