2016 Project Focus: Empowerment Grants for Women in Iraq

We at Somebody’s Mama have been huge fans of Preemptive Love Coalition for some time. We’ve followed their work as they have attempted to “confront fear with preemptive love and remake the world” on the front lines of conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.

We love not only what they do but how they do it. PLC has a three-fold model for development: love anyway, show up, and get out of the way. At the root of all they do is the belief that everyone is deserving of a better life with no regard to gender, race, or religion. Next, they believe we must all be present and active in pursuing peace through love. Finally, PLC knows that “peace, healing, and sustainable change only happen when we allow others to own their future.”

Photo by Heba Vega, humanitarian photographer in Northern Iraq

Photo by Heba Vega, humanitarian photographer in Northern Iraq

Founder, Jeremy Courtney, outlines how PLC became involved in relief and development in his book, Preemptive Love: Pursuing Peace One Heart at a Time, where he focuses on the theme “Love First, Ask Questions Later.” Jeremy and his wife, Courtney, were living in Iraq with their two children when they began working with medical teams focused on providing life-saving heart surgeries for children. These literal surgeries (numbering 1,350 to date) have also healed hearts metaphorically and encouraged peace-building and cooperation among people who might otherwise have succumbed to the fearful ideologies that plague the region. Instead, children and families are being given the chance to thrive after laying down their weapons, their prejudices, and their fears.

Over the years, the scope of PLC’s work has broadened to include not only performing life-saving heart surgeries, but also mobilizing emergency relief for families victimized by ISIS, implementing educational opportunities for at-risk children in conflict zones, and providing counsel to policy makers at the international level. Most recently, PLC has launched a program called “More Than Survivors: Empowering Refugee Women to Rebuild Their Lives.”

That’s where we come in.

For our fall 2016 project, we will be partnering with Preemptive Love Coalition to empower Syrian and Iraqi women who have been driven from their homes by violence across ethnic, regional, religious, and national lines in search of safety and economic independence.

Through their relief work with families displaced by ISIS, PLC has come to understand the importance of empowering women who wish to support their families but lack viable employment options. In the last two years, PLC has granted support to 40 women who have opened businesses, helping lift 240 individuals out of poverty. We want that number to be higher, so we are committing to raising $10,000 as a community to empower families, so they can get their kids back into school, pay their rent, and buy their own food.

One way women in Iraq are getting back on their feet is by using their hands. Let us introduce you to some of the ladies of Sisterhood Soap. They are wives, mothers, and daughters coming together to build better lives.

PLC tells us they already have 60 more women on a waiting list, and all they need is the funding to bring them into the sisterhood community. Somebody’s Mama’s contribution will provide training, startup materials, and ongoing support in order for Iraqi and Syrian women to create sustainable income through the Sisterhood Collection.

Our goal of raising $10,000 is more than attainable with the help of everyone in this community. We need all of you to consider how you can partner with us to empower women in Iraq. We will do the majority of our fundraising through Love Clubs hosted across the U.S. You can also donate directly now. As always, your donation is tax-deductible and 100% will go to the empowering women to begin their soap-making businesses.

We have a goal of finishing this project by December 15th, and we know we can do it with your help. The women of Syria and Iraq have proven again and again how strong and resilient they are in the face of grave danger. We are humbled to be a small part of their stories and proud to call them our sisters!

If you have a business that is interested in partnering with us through corporate giving, contact us here. If you have a business that is interested in partnering with us through cause marketing, contact us here.

To see the impact report provided by Preemptive Love Coalition, click here! Our impact is recorded on pages 16-18.