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Women of the World needs your support!
Supporting refugee women in achieving their dreams!

On Thursday, March 20, 2014, Women of the World (WoW) is participating in Love Utah, Give Utah 2014, a statewide event raising funds for non-profits that make our state great!

WoW has been very successful in helping refugee women reach self-sufficiency since its beginnings in 2010.  Refugees flee war and genocide and are saved by communities like South Salt Lake City.  There are over 40,000 refugees in Utah, with more coming everyday due to the ongoing violence in places like Syria and South Sudan.

We are a Salt Lake City-based charity supporting refugee women integration through our programs that:

  • Teach practical English language skills,Women of the World fundraiser
  • Partner with local financial institutions and employers on job skills workshops and
    small-business development
  • Develop human rights advocacy customized for the individuals housing, immigration, health, or legal needs.

For our refugee spokeswoman (see below), Social Pal from Burma, WoW is building on her excitement for education, helping to place her with the right post-secondary opportunities.

Women of the World has earned several distinctions including: Google Grants, UWABC Grant, Guidestar Transparency in Non-Profits Award,  the Utah Women’s Giving Circle, and the Refugee Services Office Grant.

WoW is also the proud recipient of the 2013 Salt Lake City Human Rights Award.

This is where we need your help.

We are currently seeking donors to build our crowdfunding campaign. All proceeds generated through our efforts will benefit, Women of the World, a registered 501(c)(3) charity.  Simple use our “http://loveutgiveut.razoo.com/story/Womenoftheworld” link to donate anytime before or on March 20th.

If we can bring more information to your consideration or if you or someone you know would like to personally join our team our contact info is listed below.

Women of the World – Tax ID: 27-3826125
Organization page:  http://womenofworld.org/,
Love Utah, Give Utah page: http://loveutgiveut.razoo.com/story/Womenoftheworld




It’s impossible to try and talk for Iraqi and women refugees, even though I am proud to be an Iraqi woman — but what I do know is that people with similar backgrounds need to gather.  Women need to gather to get a break from their husbands and children, to have an adult conversation about their needs and hopes, to take an English class, to take a breath and enjoy their safety and find some support.  Iraqis are much different from when I last lived there, before wars broke the country financially and hatred and distrust broke the people’s emotions and will to live, they need a place to sit and rebuild this once proud preeminent civilization.

Donations to Women RefugeesFor all refugee communities, women must be the primary concern.  Under appreciated in many of their home countries, their role as a second wage earner builds a financially successful family, the respect they get as a mother ensures they raise well-educated, well-adjusted children.  Women must have their own community center in order to gather separate from men, with their children safe in a daycare, they must be given a chance to talk together and share their stories, to socialize in English about their new lives and their dreams for the future.  Furthermore, the Women Refugee Center would help women with computers to get education, FAFSA, or connect back to their families back home; it would help them develop their skills and even a business in sewing with available sewing machines, and of course it will have private rooms to help serve the private needs of women in a safe environment.

[gn_pullquote align=”right”]Women need to gather to get a break from their husbands and children, to have an adult conversation about their needs and hopes, to take an English class, to take a breath and enjoy their safety and find some support.[/gn_pullquote]

If the Refugee Community Center only offered a place to talk, to take their case for support in an environment that respected their differences, amongst people from their situations, trained in caring and collaboration, it would be a success.  But the Refugee Community Center means so much more.  At the first refugee conference that I attended in January 2011, the keynote speaker and University of Utah economist Pamela Perlich developed the data for the idea that I have always felt — diversity and immigration are more important to our economic future on the wealth end of the spectrum than on the poor end.  What I mean by this, and what is backed up by Professor Perlich’s data, is that the minority-majority culture is more likely to join the creative class, those imaginative enough to develop their own economies beyond the information economy.  The next creative class, the first with the minority-majority demographic, can be found by looking into an elementary classroom in Salt Lake City right now.  The Refugee Community Center will guide these students through adolescence, giving them a place to belong; and more importantly, will teach their parents the English they will need to not be language outcasts from their own children.

[gn_box title=”A Mother’s Dream” color=”#333333″]Every mother dreams that her son or daughter will grow to be happy, successful, and healthy. For our refugee mothers settling in Utah, this is a very tangible dream. Their children work twice as hard early on to succeed, taking nothing for granted.[/gn_box]

As every mother of a teen knows, distance and silence are the weapons their child uses to begin to separate from their family and set out (even before their time) on their own.  This silence is lessened when there is a place to learn English alongside your child, showing them that you care, that in this one location the seeds of fun and the seeds of learning can both be sewn.  That lesson, the lesson that creativity, commitment, play, and work can come together and make an American dream, is the what the Refugee Community Center offers to mothers, daughters, Iraqis, Congolese, and Burmese refugees alike.

I am committed to working hard AND smart to making something greater than ourselves.  Developing a center for community that leads a child or a woman, an innocent ravaged by war, brutality, and poverty back to the path of hope and ultimately happiness is the highest ideal of service and humanity.  And that is why I support the Salt Lake City Refugee Community Center on behalf of the Women of the World Non-Profit Organization and the Iraqi Community in Utah.

Samira Harnish

Founder and Executive Director of Women of the World

University of Utah Economist Pamela Perlich was the keynote speaker at the Refugee Conference of Utah and she pointed out that the data shows that the nation and Utah are once again developing a minority demographic profile.  This represents a return to historical trends of the large inflow of people from foreign countries that impacted Utah and the nation at the turn of the 20th century.  As she said, the only time when the nation was “freakishly homogenous” and growing was during the post-war baby boom.  This change corresponds well to the increasing globalization of the state’s economy.
Demographics matter!  Our current refugees and certainly our children will be a part of a multiethnic culture and they will compete in a technological and global economy.  Diversity in UtahOur immigration patterns are thankfully matching to the increasing demands for a workforce that is multicultural.  Now is the time for creative solutions on how to apply the special skills of our global community to the service and technology economy so prevalent in Utah.  We must connect our birthplace markets with our Utah markets.
This connection to birthplace markets is harder for our refugees.  Many of the ties are permanently severed for refugees.  Developing these markets, importing-and-exporting from the often poverty or war-stricken communities of the refugee’s birthplace is difficult or impossible.  Developing the strengths and differentiated skills of refugees such as language skills, ethnic clothing or food, or specialized cultural services can be the initial bridge of the chasm between employment and entrepreneurship.
Opportunities exist for our women refugees to both ensure their children are part of this global community as well as themselves.  Women have the greatest ability, with help from technologically savvy mentors to develop advertising on the web, to develop markets for cultural clothing, cultural parenting and daycare services like the have been popularized in the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, or catering or supplies of desserts and food.
Women of the World would like to thank Dr. Perlich for her insightful speech on how the changing demographics of the nation and the state of Utah are making women refugees a more in-demand segment of the population.  It is now up to us to take the message from the latest census and develop each individual to be a part of the new global community.  We need your fresh ideas and assistance in setting up programs that use our differentiated skills as foreign-born women to generate value in the new global-technological economy.  Please contact us to brainstorm these ideas.