Our partners, working in 17 countries, look at each woman and girl as an individual and help her to gain skills to create positive change in her life, her family and community. As the refugee crisis continues and vast numbers of people continue to live in poverty, this work couldn’t be more important.
As someone originally hailing from Nigeria, I can attest how the instability of the global economy, and especially falling oil prices, has affected my country. Workers need to be able to adapt to changing circumstances, to have transferable as well as specific skills, and Wonder’s projects help many students to do just that.
At the beginning of 2017 we said goodbye to Charlene, whose work behind the scenes has created room for Wonder to grow. Her work with our projects in the Philippines and with UK-based Filipinos has led to exciting projects and ongoing support for the brilliant vocational programmes that we work with there. We welcome Nadia, who was one of our first trustees, who will be continuing to support Wonder in a new role.
I would also like to thank our 162 volunteers and our trustees, without whose initiative, hard work and belief in our work we would not be able to support women and their families in the way that we have. One of these has been Dr Raheal Gabrasadig, an advisor to Wonder on women’s health and FGM, and a personal friend to many of us. Raheal passed away unexpectedly in May, and we extend our condolences to her family, who have been long-term supporters of Wonder and remain engaged in our projects.
This year has seen us continue our work to deepen an understanding of what it is that sets our projects apart and develop the evidence base for our work, consulting with our partners across the world and amplifying the voices of both beneficiaries and the women leading projects. We produced two research documents. The first, “Women Breaking the English Barrier” was launched to a full room in the Houses of Parliament, co-hosted by Shadow Women’s Minister, Sarah Champion MP, and Dame Caroline Spelman, who shared it with the Minister for Refugees. The second, “Women in Kazakhstan” was launched at Ernst and Young, to an audience including academics and members of the UK Kazakhstan diaspora and has received praise from as far afield as Australia.
Finally, we have continued to support our partners, at home and abroad, through fundraising and capacity building. We were as impressed and inspired as ever by the dedication of their teams, the perseverance and diligence of their students, and the amazing things that they go on to achieve.