Spirit of America working for Women in Iraq

Women's Centers In Iraq

Help Coalition Forces establish model for Women's Centers

Since women constitute a majority of Iraq's population, adequately addressing their issues and interests is an important step in insuring a stable and bright future for all of Iraq.

The Marines Civil Affairs Group in Fallujah is partnering with two local NGO's to establish the Fallujah Women's Cultural Center which will ultimately offer employment training, an internet center, a daycare and maybe most importantly, a place for women to get together to share ideas and provide encouragement for each other. At the Marines request, SoA is providing sewing machines and computers and you can help.

Iraqi workers put the finishing touches on the Fallujah Women's Center
Make a donation to this projectWe are not currently seeking donations for this project. Click here to see projects where donations are needed.
Empower Iraqi Women through Multi-Use Women's Centers
This is a critical time for women in Iraq and their involvement in this emerging democracy is critical.

The Fallujah Women's Cultural Center, which will serve as a model for other centers throughout Iraq, offer unique services for women such as employment training by learning the trade of sewing, computer training and internet access to assist women in reaching out and expressing themselves, childcare which is vital in allowing women to take advantage of these opportunities and much more.

As of June 1st, 2006
Contributions: $7,300*
Program Expenses: $9,000

*Additional funds needed to purchase the necessary equipment and supplies were pulled from the completed Sewing Machines Project.
5 Dell Computers and Printers purchased and shipped to Fallujah. 20 Sewing machines and accessories (electric scissors, irons, cutting tables etc.) bought in Iraq.

All set to be delivered to the Fallujah Women's Center by Lt Tayrn Gude.
US Servicewoman Makes Personal Commitment to Helping the Women of Iraq

LtCol Tayrn tours the newly completed Fallujah Women's Center Building
Spirit of America has been fortunate beyond description to have worked with some of the most compassionate and generous people you can imagine. We are constantly amazed at the willingness of Amercian troops to take personal initiatives to go above and beyond their normal duties (which inherently involve a great deal of sacrifice) to look for ways to make a difference for the communities where they serve.

But even among the wonderful cast of military personnel that we have been fortunate to partner with in facilitating projects in Iraq and Afghanistan, LtCol Tayrn Gude's story stands out.

LtCol Gude took over work on the Fallujah Women's Center project upon her arrival in Al Anbar Province. Though sometimes we find that a replacement contact isn't always as passionate about a particular project as the originator, LtCol Gude jumped in enthusiastically. She has worked with SoA staff members to identify the needed donations--sewing machines and related accessories along with computers and printers for an "internet cafe".

However, a project of this type can often take many months for completion. With all our best efforts, there were still some pieces of the project left undone as LtCol Gude's deployment from Iraq approached. Rather than pass off the project into another's hands, she decided to request an extension of her time in Iraq to follow the completion of the Fallujah Women's Center and to insure the delivery and installation of all donated equipment.

LtCol Gude's sense of personal commitment to her mission and to Iraqi women is truly a heroic act. She is sacrificing time with her family, including two small children, and risking her personal safety to bring a brighter future for Iraq. That should inspire us ALL to contribute to the good that can be done in the places that need it most.

We sent a message thanking LtCol Gude for her courage and commitment. The message we received from her in response is below, and it is as heart-warming as it is inspiring:
Sir, thank you very much for your kind words. Really, it is me who should be thanking you and the wonderful, patriotic folks in your organization. Actually, I guess I’m one of you since I also joined Spirit of America and made a donation to help purchase the dolls. While I plan to donate more money, I would love to find a way to spend more time helping you all when I return to the U.S.

When I mentioned to Brigadier General Reist, Deputy Commanding General, IMEF(Fwd), that you all were helping with the Fallujah Women’s Center, he recognized the organization right away. If I recall correctly, he also said that he had the opportunity to meet you here in Iraq. He is incredibly supportive and I am lucky to have an officer of his caliber helping us execute the vision for the center.

All in all, this has been a great experience for me – I’m very honored to be a part of this process. When I think about the legacy I will leave for my children, these are the types of things that matter.

Extending my tour also allows me to continue working on a housing initiative here in Al Anbar Province. Again, I just didn’t feel right handing it over just yet. I need to get the ball a little further down field – then we’ll be more than ready for a new quarterback. Fortunately for me, my boss back at the Pentagon, Brigadier General Kelly, Legislative Assistant to the Commandant, has been generous enough to let me come over to Iraq and experience what every Marine should experience.

Finally, I want to let you know that I am literally living my dream every day: I’m in a combat zone wearing a Marine Corps uniform with the insignia of a Lieutenant Colonel – it can never get any better than this. Ooh Rah!!
Stay safe and I hope to meet you one of these days,
LtCol Tayrn L. Gude, USMC 6th Civil Affairs Group
Posted on May 3, 2006 1:16:17 AM by Michele Redmond.


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