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What is the Leading Women Fund?

The Leading Women Fund is a dynamic community of Australian women supporting their Syrian refugee sisters.

Your gifts to the Leading Women Fund provide cash assistance and vocational training for refugee women who have fled to Jordan.

More than a decade after the war in Syria began, it’s still unsafe for refugees to return home. Many are living in host countries such as Jordan, where they struggle to meet their basic needs. Women whose husbands died or have disappeared during the war find themselves in a precarious situation. They have very few ways to earn money and are extremely vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Many are caring for children or elderly relatives with little or no income, and remain trapped in poverty with no prospects for a better future.

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What is cash assistance?

The Leading Women Fund provides direct cash assistance for women who are the heads of their families in Jordan. These funds gives women the dignity of choosing how best to meet their needs while also supporting the local economy. Women spend 90 per cent of their cash assistance on essentials such as rent, groceries and medicine.

“The cash assistance helped me to repay some debts and gave me peace of mind to keep going.” - Tahani, Syrian refugee in Jordan

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Connecting Worlds

The Connecting Worlds app enables Leading Women Fund donors to chat via text message with a Syrian refugee woman who is receiving cash assistance. Messages are translated and vetted, providing safety and security for users on both ends.

“To exchange with another person is to learn from them about life, and they also learn from us.” - Reem, Syrian refugee in Jordan

“The personal connection I formed through the app brought me to a place of empathy that’s quite different to traditional giving. Neither of us wanted our friendship to end.” - Penny, Leading Women Fund member

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Message from Janine Allis, LWF Ambassador

“My recent visit to Jordan to meet women whose lives have been changed by the Leading Women Fund community was mind-blowing. The women I met once lived dynamic lives in Syria, only to have their world turned on its head by a conflict out of their control.

“The cash assistance provided by the Leading Women Fund is their only chance of having any sort of semblance of a life. But it’s not just money that’s making a difference. Malak, a 47-year-old refugee, was in tears as she explained how building relationships with Australian women through the Connecting Worlds app lifted her up during a very dark time.” - Janine Allis, Boost Juice founder

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Hear from our members

“The Leading Women Fund is really important because it gives practical solutions but also gives something intangible – the light of hope. I joined the Fund because I have a real passion for seeing people uplifted.” – Kudzai, Leading Women Fund donor

“The Leading Women Fund [Connecting Worlds] app provided us with the technology to connect real life time, real life people via an app on our phone.” – Penny, Leading Women Fund donor

“Honestly it was beautiful to share my feelings with another woman my age,” – Reem, Syrian urban refugee, Jordan

“You’re bringing together the power of women, the power of our compassion and the sense of connectedness that we have with other women around the world.” – Kim, Leading Women Fund donor

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A new kind of giving

Give: $230 every four weeks will enable a Syrian mother in Jordan to provide for her family including food and rent

$140 every four weeks will support a Syrian woman in Jordan to provide essentials for herself

Learn: Attend exclusive events and webinars with inspiring refugee women and UNHCR experts


Connect: You’ll be invited to networking events with other Leading Fund members. Chat via text message with a refugee woman using the Connecting Worlds app

We’d love to hear from you

Leading Women Fund Project Manager Emma Palmer

Meet Emma

Leading Women Fund Project Manager

My work at Australia for UNHCR is so meaningful, it doesn’t feel like work! I love getting to know women in Australia who have the same vision as I do – a world of empowered women and girls with equal opportunity. Every woman is entitled to live a life that feels purposeful to her. My role is to coordinate the Leading Women Fund program, with a focus on facilitating women supporting refugee women. Please get in contact with me if you’d like to talk about the ways you can be involved in this life-changing network.

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