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Zainab Salbi is probably one of the top five women in the world who we're completely in awe of — both for her tireless work advocating for women and for her incredible honesty.
As the founder of Women for Women International, she's spent the past 21 years helping women across the globe whose lives have been devastated by murder, rape, and war. Her group's mission statement "envisions a world where no one is abused, poor, illiterate, or marginalized; where members of communities have full and equal participation in the processes that ensure their health, well-being and economic independence; and where everyone has the freedom to define the scope of their life, their future and strive to achieve their full potential." And to that end, it's distributed over $103 million in aid to women across eight war-torn countries. That means 316,000 women have received money directly from Women to Women, and have in turn paid that forward, caring for over 1.7 million family members, bringing real possibility to places like Rwanda, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and more.
But, we don't just admire Salbi for her selfless work in service of women. It's her honesty and fearless approach to living that really resonate with us. As an author, she's been completely forthcoming with the details of her life, particularly with her first book, Between Two Worlds: Escape From Tyranny — Growing Up In The Shadow Of Saddam. She opens up about rape, about growing up in the midst of a war, and about the reality of living your childhood under the watch of a dictator, in the hopes of encouraging open dialogue among other women. Inspired by all of that and more, we paid her a visit at her warm, sunny offices in Manhattan's Flatiron district, and sat down for an inspiring, eye-opening chat. All of the details, up ahead.