Leading Women Fund donors once again have the chance to participate in this life-changing experience.
Now in its fourth year, Connecting Worlds is a ground-breaking mobile app that connects Leading Women Fund members in Australia with individual Syrian refugee women in Jordan – all of whom are receiving cash assistance from UNHCR.
Participants share messages and photos securely via the app for four to eight weeks, building a relationship and learning about each other’s lives.
“It’s like having a digital pen pal and a lot like WhatsApp in format,” explains Nicola Conville, a donor who has taken part in the app. “The most surprising aspect is how quickly you form a bond with the woman you’re matched with.”
Only LWF members can take part in the experience – yet another reason to support the fund and provide life-changing help to a refugee woman and her family.
What can I expect from Connecting Worlds?
1. Make a connection you never forget. It’s one thing to read a news story about the plight of refugees and another experience entirely to message with a woman living it as her daily reality. LWF members have the chance to ask questions, share stories and learn first-hand about what life is really like for a Syrian refugee woman. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Nicola.
The opportunity for refugee women to express their stories of strength and resilience is also invaluable. A Syrian refugee woman told us: “I felt after being connected with a supporter on the Connecting Worlds app, my match was able to learn more from me about the difficulties we are facing, although I was able to convey only half of what refugees are feeling. It was still a really great time to be able to talk to some who cares. I send her lots of prayers. I want to tell donors: ‘Thank you for your humanity’.”
2. Offer a supportive space for a woman who really needs it. Life is hard for refugee women in Jordan. Survival is their single-minded focus. They don’t often have the chance to be seen or heard. Many have lost husbands, fathers and brothers to the war, and are doing everything on their own: caring for children, managing finances and domestic duties, and supporting everyone’s emotional needs. Who is asking them at the end of the day how they are? Our team hears it all the time: having someone check in means a huge amount to the refugee women participating in the app.
3. Be part of a group of Australian women sharing the experience. When you donate regularly via the Leading Women Fund [link], you become part of a network of dynamic women who share your passion for making a difference. Knowing you are walking alongside them as you share messages with refugee women feels incredibly meaningful.
4. Give mutual support. Interior designer Penny Castillo, based in Sydney, was matched with a Syrian woman who had found safe haven in Jordan. “I was working late during the app trial, trying to keep my business together, so we’d often exchange messages late at night. I felt we supported each other,” she says. “Giving through the fund, with 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.”
Join the Leading Women Fund here and participate in the Connecting Worlds experience. Places are limited so give before 30 June to secure your spot.
The majority of funds raised by Australia for UNHCR are directed to UNHCR’s emergency operations, providing the ready funds and resources to respond quickly and effectively in situations of crisis and disaster.