In the early 2000s, a group of London students from across the world realised many people trying to reduce the number of women and girls living in poverty didn’t see them as we saw them. To us, these women, and those working hard to help them, were our friends and community. We wanted their voices to be heard and their expertise recognised by funders, donors and policymakers. The Women’s Network for Development and Educational Resources (WONDER) started from the belief that there was a more inclusive way to transform the lives of women around the world.
By 2009 our work started to become more focussed on education and we continued to volunteer alongside our work and studies. Encouraged by our family and friends, we took the leap to formalise our work, and in 2012 were registered as a charity, the WONDER Foundation. Our goals and values remain the same and many of those early volunteers are still involved in our work as trustees, staff, volunteers and advisors. They offer us expertise on the ground in the countries where we work and help us to identify new partners to work with. Our trustees represent the four continents where we have projects.
This dream of giving women the chance to raise their aspirations and the tools to achieve them has seen us work with 37 partners and reach over 50,000 women. The strong relationships and friendships we develop with our partners, and the ongoing dialogue that we have with them, make our work responsive, impactful and far-reaching. Time and again, these strong, relationships and community roots have allowed us to multiply our impact as a small charity.
Through engaging diasporas in the UK, we are building international communities to invest in transforming their countries. Hundreds of committed volunteers both in the UK and working with our partner projects, often drawn from our projects’ alumni, share skills and build networks, but there are still so many women waiting for the chance to transform their lives.