Yalea – the new De Rigo Group house brand that sets out to promote contemporary womanhood by supporting freedom of choice, encouraging talent, and rewarding inner and outer beauty – has come out in support of Women for Women International, the humanitarian organisation that, since 1993, has been helping women from eight conflict-affected countries rebuild their lives.
Yalea’s commitment to women is far-reaching and ranges from eyeglasses that enhance the personality and uniqueness of every woman to concrete support for projects worldwide that promote the growth, affirmation and independence of women.
By collaborating with Women for Women International, Yalea is expressly choosing to help improve the extremely complicated condition of women in countries like Nigeria.
In addition to social and economic inequalities, aggravated by discriminatory practices that restrict access to rights, opportunities and resources, the women of Nigeria – who constitute 60% of the estimated 87 million Nigerians who live in poverty surviving on less than $1.90 a day – are also victims of gender-based superstition, prejudice, abuse and violence, as well as facing explicit barriers to education and training.
In northern Nigeria, for example in the Plateau State, inequality is rife: just 4% of women have completed secondary school, and more than half of women are married by the age of 16.
It is this difficult and endemic situation that has encouraged Yalea to work alongside Women for Women International on a project supporting Nigerian women, in line with the set of values shared both by the association and by the brand itself in terms of female empowerment.
Yalea has thus decided to contribute to Women for Women International’s year-long Stronger Women, Stronger Nations Programme. This programme trains women in a marketable skill so that they can support themselves and their families. These women also save money in groups, and learn about their health and wellbeing, as well as to understand their rights. Forming a support group with the other women in the programme, each woman is given the skills, knowledge and resources she needs to rebuild her life, family and community.
The Stronger Women, Stronger Nations Programme includes:
- Informational training on the value of women’s work, benefits of saving, basic health education, rights and decision making, and group formation;
- Skill-building in numeracy, business skills and 40-70 hours training in a chosen vocational skill that matches the local market and women’s interests
- Resources provision, via a monthly stipend, asset transfers for vocational activities, savings channel provision, and health and legal services;
- Connections to women and networks, in safe spaces where women learn and support each other.
Barbara De Rigo, De Rigo Chief Marketing Officer, commented: “I believe that education and an awareness of one’s values and rights are the first step towards female independence and empowerment. Which is why we invest in and are committed to offering concrete, tangible support for women, in line with the Yalea mission. I am particularly and indeed personally proud to be able to stand by the women of Nigeria with this project.”
Sara Bowcutt, Managing Director at Women for Women International – UK, commented on this new partnership, saying: “I am so pleased to welcome Yalea – an all-female brand celebrating women’s freedoms and talent – as a partner for Women for Women International. Women in our programmes learn about their health, rights and a marketable job skill – such as tailoring, bread-making or poultry-keeping, as well as business training to turn their skill into a stable income so they can support themselves and their families. By supporting our Stronger Women, Stronger Nations programme in Nigeria, Yalea is helping women survivors of war build a better future for themselves and create a ripple effect of change that helps to make the world more equal, peaceful and prosperous.”