About Us


was born on the 3rd of May 1922 in Paramaribo, and is especially known for the many years of dedication to improve the social position of women in Suriname.

In several functions, she became involved in the work of the YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) since the fifties of the last century.

From 1967 to 1985 she held the position of General Secretary. Her involvement in this work was encouraged by her mother Helen Hewitt-Weide who joined the YWCA in 1942. In the second half of the sixties, Ilse was appointed Officer of the Order of the Dutch Lion.

After the independence of Suriname she was awarded the Order of Honour of the Palm. After a fruitful life, mostly serving the Surinamese woman, she died on the 12th of April 1996 in Paramaribo.

Who are we?
The Ilse-Henar Hewitt Foundation for Women’s Rights was founded on 16 June 1996 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the National Women's Movement (NVB). The foundation is part of the legal department of the NVB and serves the community, especially financially weak women by providing legal assistance and guidance. Our Bureau consists of three sections, namely:

We strife for a society in which humans can develop in all their aspects, with special attention for:
• equality of men and women
• poverty alleviation
• increase of productivity
• development and strengthening of social justice
• equal participation of all groups and layers in decision-making
• reinforcement of independence, self-initiative and belief in the own capacities

Mission statement
We focus on achieving gender equality in Surinamese law, guaranteeing international conventions on woman's position in Surinamese law and 'translating' resolutions of international women's conferences into Surinamese practice.

According to our articles of association our objective is:

  • Promoting and protecting the rights of women
  • Contributing to establishing and guaranteeing (gender) equality and non-discrimination in Surinamese law as well as in practice
  • Enabling citizens in general and women in particular to be informed about their rights and to enjoy these

In addition, we perform scientific research and we are committed to make new legislation and amendments to existing laws possible through lobbying.