The intersection of acting locally and thinking globally: The United Nations Civil Society Conference hosted by Salt Lake City

The intersection of acting locally and thinking globally: The United Nations Civil Society Conference hosted by Salt Lake City

Women of the World is excited to welcome all attendees to The United Nations Civil Societies Conference being held in Salt Lake City next week, 26-28 August. Women of the World staff and volunteers have been very active in planning this conference. Samira was selected to speak on the Peaceful Societies Thematic Session Panel

Restoring Hope - Fashion Show Gala 2019

Restoring Hope - Fashion Show Gala 2019

Announcing the Women of the World 9th Annual Fashion Show Gala on 6 March starting at 5:30pm at The Falls Event Venue in Trolley Square in downtown Salt Lake City. Every year, the Fashion show is an opportunity to highlight something displaced women can teach us. Last year we highlighted  the harms of barriers and the benefits of community, this year we move with momentum forward to restore hope. A hope--we are reminded--that is also the object of a journey we take together. The hope we are restoring is at once audacious and an incentive to act.

The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After

Women of the World is excited to promote this amazing book of seeking refuge and making a life of resettlement. WoW is working with the publishers and Clemantine to have a Skype chat hosted by a local library... so stay tuned for details.

Women of Courage concerts from my perspective

Did you hear the Women of Courage concerts? One of the members of the Canyon Singers, Nan McEntire, shares her impressions of the experience.On March 17th and 18th Women of Courage, the musical creation of Patty Willis and Mary Lou Prince, came to life in Salt Lake City. Although there was no admission fee, donations were plentiful, and half of the amount collected at the door went to Women of the World. As one of the singers in the choir, I realized that Women of the World was the best possible organization to have benefitted from these performances.

We are all in this together by Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski

In her speech entitled, “We are all in this together” which Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s gave as the key note speech to the Women of the World 6th Annual Celebration of Women Refugee Success, she discusses the importance of standing together in community, of her conviction to work against the rhetoric that represented the campaign, and to help Women of the World in their efforts."Nothing is more important than living in a safe and supportive community that upholds and protects our human rights."

Bridging Gaps and Cultivating Foundation - A 12-week Program for Refugee High School Girls

[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="2_3"][et_pb_image admin_label="Header Image" src="" alt="Bridging Gaps and Cultivating Foundation" title_text="Bridging Gaps and Cultivating Foundation" show_in_lightbox="on" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="off" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_cta admin_label="Call To Action" title="Keep up to date on all of our activities..." url_new_window="off" button_text="Join our newsletter..." use_background_color="on" background_color="rgba(90,144,147,0.7)" background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" disabled="off" disabled_on="on|on|" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" custom_button="off" button_letter_spacing="0" button_use_icon="default" button_icon_placement="right" button_on_hover="on" button_letter_spacing_hover="0" button_url=""] [/et_pb_cta][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3"][et_pb_blurb admin_label="IDDev" title="Module 1: Identity Development" url_new_window="off" use_icon="on" font_icon="%%173%%" icon_color="#168794" use_circle="on" circle_color="#ffffff" use_circle_border="on" circle_border_color="#8300e9" icon_placement="top" animation="off" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_icon_font_size="off" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

  • Self-Identity
  • Social Justice
  • Roots
  • “My Story”

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label="Intersection" title="Module 2: Intersections" url_new_window="off" use_icon="on" font_icon="%%304%%" icon_color="#168794" use_circle="on" circle_color="#ffffff" use_circle_border="on" circle_border_color="#8300e9" icon_placement="top" animation="off" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_icon_font_size="off" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

  • Understanding Gender
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Communication
  • Dating

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label="Exploration" title="Module 3: Explorations" url_new_window="off" use_icon="on" font_icon="%%289%%" icon_color="#168794" use_circle="on" circle_color="#ffffff" use_circle_border="on" circle_border_color="#8300e9" icon_placement="top" animation="off" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_icon_font_size="off" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

  • What breaks your heart?
  • Voice
  • Expression
  • Community

[/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_blurb admin_label="Opportunity" title="Module 4: Opportunity, Structure, Mentor" url_new_window="off" use_icon="on" font_icon="%%254%%" icon_color="#168794" use_circle="on" circle_color="#ffffff" use_circle_border="on" circle_border_color="#8300e9" icon_placement="top" animation="off" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_icon_font_size="off" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

  • Sense of belonging
  • Path Through Higher Education
  • Balance
  • Mindfulness Practices

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

What happens when you put young women leaders in a room for twelve weeks?

Well, you begin to uncover the details of how stories intertwine, ebb and flow, and collectively culminate power that shines through. Past the anger and the struggle of every day. You see the beauty that illuminates the commitment to not give up and walk a path of uncertainty, but one that needs to be walked.Each one of the 7 young African women has a story to tell and have gone to their growth-edge to make sure that they are heard and not silenced. Each one of them has taken time to critically think and engage in their own level of vulnerability to write a piece of their own story to share hoping that it will create change in the way we react, act, and engage in the SLC community.The learnings that came from this course is meant to be intimate and proactive. We encourage you to come wanting to engage in the experiences of these young women knowing that you will learn from them. We thank you in advance for taking the time and sitting with us, as we tell OUR stories.

Who were the Participants?

In total ten young women participated in the program. They came from two different schools and their age range was 15-18yrs. The recruitment of the program was done through word-of-mouth. Though the program sought to have a more diverse group in school/culture/background/life-story — there was limited time to do adequate recruitment. Each of the recruited young women came into the program with their own set of skills and perspectives. The young women proved to be outstanding group to work with. All women were of African families, some were born in the U.S., and all have the ability to talk about the refugee experience, though many of the young women do not self -identify as refugees.*Note: The program flexed with involvement of initial participants, by the end of the 12 weeks, 3 participants had left, but the program gained one new participant later into the program. Seven women participated in their end-of-program event: We as Women all as Women: Shining light on our stories, creating new narrative, listen to our voices.

Educational Component

All the educational material and lessons were built to dissect four themes in the 12 weeks. Those 4 themes can be seen above in MODULES. All educational material was presented with social justice in the forefront of the classroom. All educational material was pulled from previous knowledge of the facilitator; activities, workshops; websites such as: Teaching Tolerance, and books on education and identity.[/et_pb_text][et_pb_testimonial admin_label="Ruth" author="Ruth Arevalo" url_new_window="off" portrait_url="" quote_icon="on" use_background_color="on" background_color="rgba(224,182,92,0.42)" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]Why am I here? Where do I fit into this story? Well…My story and body starts at a confluence of blood that historically and phenotypically were determined by hierarchy and power to not match. This means as I grew I was placed in ambuigity and confusion of where I fit in this world.This… Exacerbated by the death of those who brought me into this world. I laid on the floor as a small child looking into the sky while I felt the whole world falling around me breathing in and out….[/et_pb_testimonial][et_pb_text admin_label="Text2" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]


The aspects of uncovering the layers of identity were fundamental to programming. Exploring the aspects of our identities that put forth contingencies because society has given us a label.Understanding privilege and our own privilege/or not being able to access certain privileges and how that is wrapped into our identities and how to healthily navigate spaces with this knowledge was prioritized.

Safety and Cohesion

Safe and inclusive space, the importance of feeling safe is dire to creating space for communication, growth, and developmentCreating flexibility and space for all to talk, be heard, and to be ok with tensions or disagreements. We understood that conflict is part of growth and conflict resolution allows cohesion and respect between group members.


The base of communication that was set up was implemented with intentional time given to build trust. Weekly check-ins at meetings with active listening and feedback along with outside meeting check-ins once a month by phone to continue to develop rapport and depth to the relationship between participant and facilitator.It was monumental to give and provide space for all feelings, thoughts, and actions to be heard, discussed, and validated.Some of the women had a stronger presence, confidence, and base of knowledge to put to their voice, as some were still growing into how they desire to best express themselves and communicate with others.All participants began to engage in what it meant to have courage to stand up for themselves and also gaining comfort in what it meant to ask for help. Most importantly we continued the conversation of how important voice is for women of color.All participants were expected to work together and use their communication skills to work through frustrations and uncertainty to create a public event at the end of the 12 weeks.The event “We as Women All as Women” show cased the importance of story and provided space for each of the young women to capture one characteristic important to them and use spoken word to express it with a critical and profound lens. The open dialogue that was led by the young women at the end of their performance was to engage the public to ask questions about the importance of why their stories should be heard and why they are using their voices to express the changes they want to see from the perspective of being young African women living in the United States in this very pivotal moment in history.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_testimonial admin_label="Saida" author="Saida" url_new_window="off" portrait_url="" quote_icon="on" use_background_color="on" background_color="rgba(189,143,232,0.62)" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]At the beginning of the 12 weeks I spent with Ruth and the other 8 girls I was very skeptical of what I was getting myself into. Would I be just wasting my time in a boring club listening to people with monochromatic voices talking about challenges women face? I knew all the challenges women face, I face them every single day of my life. Why did I need to talk about it over and over again? I decided to give the group the benefit of the doubt and just go to one meeting. If I didn’t like it I would just stop coming, it was going to be a piece of cake. I would walk in share a few sad stories, listen to people share a few of their sad stories, and I would be out the door. Boy, was I wrong.As soon as I opened the doors of the building where the meetings were held a strange feeling hit me. This feeling was of comfort and understanding. I knew from that moment that this wasn’t just a club where we would sit talking about our feelings. It was a club where we would take ACTION about our feelings. The other 8 girls and I sat down at the table nervous about what was to come. We didn’t know that this 12 weeks program would make us a family.“When I think of this group I think of one word, Diverse. Not only in that we come from different countries around the world, but also that we all have different opinions and outlooks on the world,” said Naima Dahir a group member.This 12 week journey was a pathway to more knowledge for us girls. We learned more than we have ever learned anywhere, including school.“Topics that were covered where, Identity, including the complexities and intersections of identity/ies. The importance of telling your story. What it looks like to advocate for yourself and intervene when you see or are in the situation of injustice.  We talked about racialized and gendered language as well as aspects of healthy relationships and communication,” said Ruth Arevalo the facilitator of the group.At the end of the program us girls organized and held our own get together. We shared stories, poems, dances, and what everyone loved most, the food. The idea behind the event was to have an open conversation of what we all learned together. It was an event that brought women of color together to  showcase our progress and have a good time. For many of the girls in the group they didn’t have a lot of space to talk about what they go through on a daily basis. This helped open up the discussion.“I feel that our message to our audience was fulfilled. And that individuals left our event that night inspired, ready to make moves, transformed and most importantly label free,” said Heba Geiang a group member.  I am very glad I took the risk and joined this group. It was one of the most amazing experiences that I have ever gone through. Everyday you can make decision that will change your life. Sometimes you hesitate. I am glad my hesitation lasting for only a second, and I dove right in to pave the way to my future life.Learning about Slope in Math class, Literary Devices in English, and Mitochondria in Science are all very important. But none of those topics will establish the foundation of who we are. Identity, Stories, Relationships, and Communication are what makes us human. We are different people than when we started 12 weeks ago, and we have all changed for the better.[/et_pb_testimonial][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Founder Samira Harnish Awarded Ruby Award for Excellence in Women's Advocacy

The customized solutions and the impact they are having on empowering refugee women were awarded today with a Ruby Award, by the Soroptimist Club of Salt Lake City.  The Ruby Award is given each year to a woman of distinction who has been helping women in our community. This year Samira Harnish received the award at the Soroptimist’s Annual Ruby Award Gala on the 24th of March.
The Soroptimist Club is a worldwide organization with clubs in over 132 countries and 80,000 members (see also and  The local club supports our international activities plus activities in our local community specifically for women and girls.
Samira is honored to be awarded by such an amazing service and philanthropy group as the Soroptimist Club. In her address she explained,
The struggles of refugee women are different from their men.  They face the traditional requirements of women -- homemaking, childcare, and emotionally enabling their men -- but soon realize their families need them to work, to gain skills, and to “get over” their sadness of what they lost, what suffering was forced on them, and help get out of poverty.Getting out of poverty and having a voice means not taking NO for an answer.  Women of the World’s customized service is about going to:… the same immigration and housing agencies,… the same benefits office,… into the schools or business… and talking to the same people over,…and over,…and over again.Until they get it right.
The community of Salt Lake City is extremely giving and always offers its new neighbors a helping hand. It is amazing being a small nonprofit organization in Salt Lake City as our big-hearted neighbors always want to offer a helping hand.
2016-03-23 18.38.13

Mother's Day With The Leonardo’s Community Connections

Mothers share a bond, whether they are mothers from Utah or from a war-torn country seeking refugee status.Women of the World and The Leonardo Museum are excited to announce that together we will be celebrating “Mothers of the World” by unveiling an art installation of the same name. All of this will happen as part of The Leonardo’s Community Connections program and Women of the World’s Annual Celebration of Mother’s Day on Sunday, 8 May 2016.

  • When: Sunday, 8 May 2016. Doors open at 2 p.m., Program to begin at 2:30 p.m.
  • Where: The Leonardo Museum. 209 East 500 South, Salt Lake City.
  • What: Celebration of mothers from all over the world.
  • Cost: Free.

The Leonardo is commissioning a collaborative art piece with guest artists adding their unique celebration of Mothers Day. Geared towards refugee mothers, the installation hopes to create awareness about the trials and triumphs of refugee women and girls that settle in Utah. After the unveiling, the Leonardo will donate this art piece to Women of the World.The way Women of the World achieves its mission of “supporting refugee women to achieve self-reliance, a voice in the community, and empowering economic success” by:

  • Training them in conversational English using the ‘classroom of the community’
  • Ensure their physical and mental health is treated before requiring further achievement in academia or industry.
  • Developing differentiated job skills in language, service, or creative industries that move their earnings up the value chain quickly.
  • Giving everyone the opportunity of further education.
  • Advocacy when unfortunate events occur in any stage of resettlement.

As a member of the Salt Lake community, we love making a difference The Leo way. Every Sunday we’ll partner with different organizations and members of the community—YOU—to­ take initiative. Come prepared to do fun, hands-on projects with your own art, science and tech twist. Your projects will be spread out to services and non-profits around Salt Lake and beyond!For more information about Women of the World visit For more information about The Leonardo Museum visit .

Celebrating and Honoring Our New Neighbors

This year the 4th Annual Fashion Show was themed around the popular meme “Stepping Up.” Women of the World is constantly looking for ways to highlight the progress that our ladies are making in overcoming the odds and integrating into their communities  in Salt Lake City.
The life of a newly resettled refugee is an active engagement. It starts trying to make a small apartment into a home. There are many large and small details that go into just this simple task: from ensuring you get heat assistance to keep the cold out in the winter months to finding reasonably priced spices and standards used in the cooking you and your family are accustomed to.
Once a home is made, our ladies begin to support their husbands and children in venturing into the real world. Mothers need to know their kids will receive a great education and wives need to balance the incomes and expenses to keep the family fed and clothed.
After sacrificing for everyone else in their families, our ladies step up for themselves. Most will start learning English first, trying to stay in touch with their children who are learning a secret language shared with only their friends at school.
IMG_1835In parallel with learning English, parenting, and trying to keep a safe and happy home for a family beset by nightmares of war and loss, most of our ladies need to get employment. Two incomes are needed for those living at the poverty line, which is where most refugees start. The majority of our ladies have few skills that transfer to employment in Utah and have to learn on-the-job. Hard work is the only way to climb this learning curve.
Our new neighbors continue to find ways to step up and gain advantage from the opportunities they work hard to make. Many move from employee to employer, starting businesses in housekeeping, hair care or cosmetics, food service, or retail crafts to name a few. Others give back to their community and volunteer with organizations that helped them either in Utah or in the country of their birth.
Our women step up and expect the same of us. They are not asking for handouts but a fair opportunity, someone to mentor them, and an infrastructure that processes their hard work into a safe life that propels them forward.
There were over 100 guests from the community that stepped up to their neighborly duty and graciously welcomed our ladies and their cultures into our community.  Thanks to our sponsor Ally Bank and the in-kind donation of the Blended Table Catering, Liberty Heights Fresh Market, and Tiffany Bloomquist Designs, WoW was able to use all ticket sales to fund our programs. Furthermore, thanks to the generous matching gift of the Semnani Family Foundation, Women of the World was able to double the contributions of all our generous supports and raise more money for our brand of stepping up for refugee women.
IMG_1768The Fashion Show started off with remarks from women that are pillars of our community and know how to make a neighborhood feel warm and welcoming. Kimberli Haywood, a Community Reinvestment banker for Ally Bank and the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors for Women of the World introduced the Fashion Show and the meaning she and her family got from their interactions with our new neighbors. She introduced Nubia Pena, the keynote speaker and a Women’s Rights Advocate, who brought the crowd into the discussion, making them present in the broader moment where women are beset by dangers from domestic violence to the school-to-prision pipeline. Samira Harnish, the Founder and Executive Director of WoW followed Nubia and talked about Women of the World’s customized approach to service and the challenges and successes of this approach over the last six years of service.
It was then time for the Fashion Show, with emcees representing Miss Asia Utah (Miss Palestine Utah), Nora Abu-Dan, and Satin Tashnizi, First Runner Up to Miss Asia Utah (Miss Iran Utah). The emcees introduced Fashions first from Asia including cultures like Iranian, Iraqi, Kareni, Chin, Rohingyi, Nepalese, Afghan, Turkish, and Kurdish and then took an intermission where we were entertained by Ms. Asia Utah, Anju Thapaliya Sharma, with a traditional Nepalese dance. To close out the Fashion Show, the emcees took to the stage again and announced African fashions from cultures such as Somali, Burkana Faso, Sudanese, Congolese, Zambia, and Tanzania. The models all stood in solidarity together with the staff of Women of the World, displaying women’s power.
The Fashion Show was a tremendous success and as Board Member Beverley Cooper stated, "I wish we could count all the goodwill and new friends we made last night because that is huge.” Indeed that is what the Fashion Show is for, as a low-barrier for the community-at-large to act on Women of the World’s tagline, to give our ladies a voice and to befriend them. A big thanks to all of those volunteers, staff members, board members, and members of the community that made it all possible.

Stepping Up: Women of the World's 4th Annual Fashion Show Fundraiser

Women of the World celebrates the traditions of our new neighbors, we take pride in our place in the blend of community and culture, and we raise our voices to advocate on behalf of so many still in the process of escaping war and genocide. So it is our honor to invite you to our Celebration of Stepping Up: Women of the World's 4th Annual Fashion Show Fundraiser.


WHEN: Wednesday, 2 March 2016. Mingling starting at 5:30 p.m., Program to begin at 6:00 p.m.


WHERE: Publik Coffee Roasters Event Space. 975 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT


DONATIONS: We have recently received a very generous matching grant from the Semnani Foundation that will double any money you are willing to give to our tax-exempt organization. 

The Women of the World Fashion Show features our new refugee neighbors STEPPING UP in their cultural garb. These women are counting on our friendship and humanity after fleeing violence in the neighborhoods of their birth. Their courage and request for grace encourages us to STEP UP with our hearts open to our shared hopes and dreams as women, mothers, and Utahns.
Fashion is about more than clothing, it is about rituals and history. International women’s day is about more than just women, it is about family and home in all its myriad forms. And your attendance is more than just a thing to do, it is about STEPPING UP -- in front of the crowd -- and standing for what you believe in, the ideal that makes America great, that we are ALL endowed with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Brown Paper Tickets Ticket Widget Loading... Click Here to visit the Brown Paper Tickets event page.

Remarks at Women of the World Awards Ceremony Julie McAdams

I’m so pleased to join you today and to share in celebrating what Women of the World have accomplished. I was looking on Samira’s website and I learned some amazing things. Utah is home to over 20-thousand refugees and most are women and children. The fact that you are all here, together today, is such an incredible story of what the human spirit can endure and overcome.

  • Some of you have survived unimaginable violence, in your homes and in war zones around the world.
  • Some of you have seen family members hurt and killed.
  • You have been torn from your homes.
  • You’ve been forced to flee your country. You have lived in refugee camps, sometimes for years.
  • Once you do find refuge in a new country, and are safe, there are other challenges, such as learning a new language, finding a way to earn a living and gain access to basic needs such as housing and health care.
  • And you learn to integrate into a new culture and a new community.

I’ve never had to overcome anything as difficult as you. But because I’m also a woman, and a mother, I feel a bond with you. We may not come from the same culture, but we share the same experience of having children, wanting protecting them and make a good life for them. We worry about their happiness and we try to calm their fears. We feel pride in their accomplishments.When we feel tired, or discouraged, or threatened, what keeps us going is the responsibility and the joy we feel as women and as mothers to our families. We know how difficult, or even impossible, it would be to replace the love and understanding that mothers give. So, we keep going, against all odds. We try even when we’re exhausted. We don’t give up, even when we’re discouraged. We keep being brave, even when we are frightened.FH000089And as you have proven, not only do you survive, you triumph and succeed in creating a new home and a new life.I would never wish for anyone to have the hardships you have had, but there may be a rainbow at the end of the storms you have weathered. Your experiences have made you resilient and strong. Along your journey, you have triumphed over fear, hunger, exhaustion and trauma. The qualities that brought you to this point in your lives will be a valuable example to your children and other family members. They will see what it means to overcome terrible trouble. They will have learned from you how to keep going, even when it seems impossible to take even one more step. That example will help them as they make their own lives in this new home. They won’t be afraid to take a risk, start a business, enroll in school or join in with a new community.Last month, you may have celebrated an American holiday known as Thanksgiving. You may know the history behind this. About 400 years ago, a small boat called the Mayflower left England, carrying 102 passengers. They were seeking a new home where they could freely practice their religion. After 66 days at sea, they landed at a place called Massachusetts. Through the first brutally cold winter, they suffered from disease and hunger. Only half the people survived until spring. Then they received a visit from a Native American Indian, who spoke English. He came back with another Indian who had been held as a slave in England, but eventually escaped and returned to North American. These Native Americans taught the newcomers how to grow corn, get sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. The next year, to celebrate their first successful corn harvest, the Pilgrims and the Native Americans held a three-day festival – the First Thanksgiving.You now are part of America’s story – where many different people who sought freedom and safety made the necessary sacrifices to come and start a new life.Utah is very fortunate to have you as part of our community. We have a lot to learn from each other. Be yourself. Put your head up. Teach us about you and where you came from and how you got here. We welcome you and we are so happy for you to be part of the fabric of our community.Thank you for inviting me to be here today and to celebrate with you. It is my wish and my prayer that the future is bright and that you receive all the support you need to rebuild your lives.FH000104

Fifth Annual Holiday Celebration of Refugee Success

Women of the World is excited to announce our Fifth Annual Celebration of Refugee Success WHEN: 12 December from 2 - 5 p.m. WHERE: The Atrium of the Salt Lake County South Building (2100 South State Street in Salt Lake City).Free to the public.  For more information call (801) 953 - 0008 or email as Women of the World's Founder, Samira Harnish, discusses this event with Mary Dickson on KUED's Contact that highlights non-profits across the state of Utah.  The show airs on 19 November but you can watch it on Contact's website at the link below.


As Samira mentioned in the interview, we are excited to have Salt Lake County's First Lady, Julie McAdams,  present the awards to the women thriving in our community.

Each year Women of the World celebrates the holiday season with a celebration of our ladies’ successes throughout the year.  We know that the stories and the certificates encourage the entire community to move forward, to see themselves in the successes of the women accepting certificates, and to strive to do more than survive in their resettlement community, but to thrive.This is the first year that a woman representing the entire community will present the certificates.  Salt Lake County’s First Lady Julie McAdams is a fierce advocate for progressive policies and for those living in Utah.  We are excited to have a successful woman in the prime of her career giving the certificates of appreciation to those in the beginning of their successful ventures.

Celebrating Mother's Day with Our New Neighbors

The celebration of those that brought us into the world and that nurture and care for us throughout our lives is a key rite preserved in most cultures.  In America, this rite is celebrated on the most important holiday of all – Mother’s Day.  Many of our new neighbors taking refuge in Utah have a streak of celebrating mothers and grandmothers, even promoting them to the head of the household, but these celebrations do not fall on a specific day.  As WoW has constantly said, we do not ask our ladies to balance two cultures, but to blend them, the best of both… in light of this, we celebrated our 6th Annual Mother’s Day Celebration at the Bud Bailey Housing Complex on Saturday.IMG_8977The event was well-attended even though rain washed out the initial outdoor venue.  Our friends at the Bud Bailey Housing Complex stepped up and opened a space for our use – a real treat for our ladies from all over Salt Lake City to come in from the rain and celebrate together with food and friends.The Mother’s Day event is an opportunity for supporters, volunteers, and other community members to share a meal with our new neighbors and talk about the delicious ethnic potluck food and share in the common loving role they all share as mothers.  Kids and mothers mix between the different ethnicities to share in overcoming their common struggles.IMG_8943This year, Women of the World recognized its first Mother of the Year.  Known simply as Bebe, which is Congolese for grandmother, Bebe was nominated both by the granddaughter she serves as the caregiver for and by WoW staff for her kindness and her calm in the face of the struggles she continues to overcome.  Later that same night, at the Mama Africa Kitoko Fashion Show, Women of the World Founder and Executive Director, Samira Harnish, presented Bebe with an award from the Mama Africa Kontago non-profit as well.  Samira also recognized two other women for their contributions in the service of refugees and for their entrepreneurial vision.Women of the World is continuing to survey the mothers for the classes they want to help themselves and their kids achieve their next step in the community and if you are interested in supporting a legal/human rights or economic empowerment class ranking for these women, pleasesend us an email.IMG_9085Women of the World loves to celebrate with its members and there is no greater focus on the courage and care, the kindness and resolve of our ladies than the celebration around their sacrifice for their children.  Thank you to all of the refugee mothers that make our lives so much more complete.

3rd Annual Refugee Fashion Show

Women of the World's 3rd Annual Refugee Fashion show was a resounding success!!!Women from all over the world modeled in this celebration of the beauty and courage of our new neighbors.  Burundi, Congolese, Burmese, Iranian, Iraqi, Nepalese, Ethiopian, Rwandan, Sudanese, and Afghani women graced the stage at Pierpont Place on Thursday evening in to show their native country's fashions.  A sample of the photos that were taken are on Women of the World's Flickr page on the album 3rd Annual Refugee Fashion ShowA sampling of some of the fashions on display include:

IMG_8765Burundi beautiful, smart, kind Sandrine wearing Burundi traditional dress “Imvutano.”  She would typically dress up in Imvutano for weddings and church. This type of clothes basically symbolize the respect and dignity of a Burundian lady.The top of this ensemble is sari-like, with the fabric draping over one shoulder, across the bodice and leaving the other shoulder bare.  

Another example, from Burma:

IMG_8713Smart, vibrant Mary Nei Mawi and Dawt Dawt, are from Chin State in Burma. They are wearing beautiful Chin Traditional clothing. They mainly wear this type of dress on special occasions such as Chin National Day, Christmas, New Year’s, and wedding ceremonies.   

All of the photos of this event on Flickr represent an important milestone in the journey of our refugee women neighbors and friends.  As Founder and President Samira Harnish states to introduce our models...

As you applaud each of them as they walk the catwalk, think about the steps they took before the ones you are seeing – running away from violence and oppression, scared and hoping only for a safe night’s sleep. Think about what they left behind -- a comfortable job, house, and their families – sometimes even their own sons and daughters.Their beauty comes not only from their features or clothing; but from their strength and amazing courage to find a better life here in Utah.

Women of the World is indebted to all of the volunteers, supporters, directors (and directors' spouses) that helped to make the 3rd Annual Refugee Fashion Show such a tremendous success.  Women of the World would especially like to thank the primary sponsors for the Fashion Show.

Thank you to the 2015 Fashion Show Sponsors

“sponsor “sponsor “sponsor

Please consider keeping the momentum of the 3rd Annual Fashion Show alive by giving a generous gift via our secured donation site.

WoW Documentary Wins the Workman Film Festival Award

Women of the World fundraiserWomen of the World's introductory documentary film won the Short Documentary Film Category at the 17 January Workman Productions Online Award in the Documentary Category.  Ana Breton, Breton Films, deserves this award for her dedication to the project and how she helped the refugee struggles come to life in her documentary shot 'about town' with WoW President and Founder, Samira Harnish.  A special mention goes out to all of the refugee ladies and gentlemen and the staff that assisted them who opened their homes and their stories to this special project... as with everything Women of the World does, our success would not be possible without the courage and diligence of our new neighbors and the staff and volunteers that support them.Women of the World staff and many of 'our ladies' that were featured in the film came out to see the video and stay to see a few of the other films.   Many of the ladies that were featured in the video have moved on to the first steps that they detailed in the video so it was nice to get back together with everyone and discuss their progress and hear their stories of success.Below is further description of the event from the Online Awards site.

Festival DescriptionIMG_2519

The Online Awards is a film festival that takes place in Salt Lake City the weekend before the famous Sundance Film Festival. The festival is open and free to the public to attend. The festival will also be simultaneously be broadcast live at our Los Angels and New York City venues as well.The Online Awards Film Festival is at the Infinity Events Center 26 E 600 S, Salt Lake City, UT

IMG_2517Awards & Prizes

After each seasonal deadline, quality and creativity are celebrated in three levels of awards: Best of Show, Silver Award and Gold Award. Best of Show honors are granted only if worthy productions are discovered. Likewise, no more than 15% of entries are granted Gold Award. Notable artistic and technical productions are recognized at the Silver award level. Judging results letters will be sent by email about four to six weeks after the final deadline to all participants, i.e., to those who were granted awards and those who were not granted awards. Free digital downloads of Online Award laurels will be made available to all winners.IMG_2507

Fashion Show Salt Lake City Event

It is that time again... Women's Fashion Show Salt Lake City Event, celebrating International Women's Day and our new refugee neighbors and their cultural heritage.This fashion and cultural event is at once a heartfelt celebration of the various refugee cultures in our community (Sudanese, Burundi, Iraqi, Burmese, and many others) and a celebration of the beauty and fashion of women from around the world.  Our new neighbors have struggled against war, rape, genocide, oppression in their native homes and in refugee camps and are determined to make Salt Lake City home, a community where they contribute!  And contribute they are... our ladies are making some of the greatest strides in overcoming PTSD, illiteracy, and poverty and contributing in their children's schools, in the workplace, and in college and university.  More than this, they contribute to our understanding of the world and to our humanity in helping others new to where we grew up and live.The Women of the World Fashion Show Event is:

WHEN: Thursday, 5 March 2015 : 5:30 - 9:00WHERE: Pierpont Place, 163 Pierpont Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84101TICKETS: ($35 includes food & Fashion Show ticket... a wonderful opportunity to meet some of these courageous ladies!)CONTACT: 801 - 648 - 9692 or samira 'at' womenofworld 'dot' org

We are actively searching for sponsors to join Ally Bank, Pierpont Place, and Soul Salt who are graciously donating resources to enable our 3rd Annual Fashion Show Event to be the best yet.  Please utilize these local businesses that support community development and our new refugee neighbors.allyimageslogoPlease join us for this wonderful event!