In 1994, WFWP volunteers from Japan came to the Middle East to make a foundation for a local chapter in the region. Coming from an entirely different culture and speaking very little English, they had to learn the local habits, the situation of the society in which they were working and the existing conflicts. Their purpose was to serve local institutions, grassroots organizations, as well as organize projects that would benefit the country.
These volunteers set up humanitarian projects for women, children, and disadvantaged people. They organized free skills learning courses and set up microcredit systems in order to empower women to be financially independent. They promoted character education to children in schools and community centers, and assisted refugees from neighboring countries.
In more recent years, volunteers of other nationalities followed their example and went as far as Gaza to bring comfort and joy to sick and orphaned children.
By the time these volunteers returned to Japan, a network of local women leaders had been created in each of the countries they worked. Women government officials, presidents of NGOs, and successful businesswomen all became appreciative of WFWP's dedication and values. By engaging with WFWP, women of each country could see that peace in the region was an achievable dream, after all.
This network of women leaders kept expanding. Japan initiated the annual Women's Conference for Peace in the Middle East, which became the flagship project in the region. Every year, for 21 years, women representing the majority of Middle Eastern countries have been gathering to share their joys and sorrows, and exchange ideas on how to make peace a reality in the region.
In the words of our founder, "Women love peace more than men. For this reason, women must lead the way."