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.

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

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

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

WoW Holiday Celebration featured by local news

After the 4th annual celebration featuring the role models in the refugee community was complete, the WoW Holiday Celebration was featured by the local news.  This celebration highlights the successes and dreams of refugee women in Utah and while showing the organizational capacity of Women of the World for continually recruiting and resourcing the best volunteer talent and opportunities for Utah's refugee women.See these links for the newspaper coverage of the celebration: the celebration, Women of the World recognized:supporting refugee success at the holiday celebrationMs. Manal N. & Siham M. for gaining their citizenship:

America is one of the few countries started on an ideal, the ideal that everyone is created equal and through hard work and imagination you can succeed. Your citizenship is not the end of your path but a beginning, a ticket to opportunity. Naturalized citizens are more aggressive in achieving the American dream and today you join this class of success. However, America also needs you to blend your culture into the melting pot, retaining the best characteristics of both.

 Ms. Ghassak J. for achievement:

The children of our community will always remember their teachers for being confident in their success and giving them the tools to achieve their dreams. Your support of our children to transition into the lifestyle and language of America, along with your patience to their special needs and concerns is both strengthening our community and building a foundation for the future.

Ms. Alaa A. for achievement:

The continuation of your education upon resettlement is made more important in that it continues your expertise in improving enterprise and affairs amongst nations. The more we understand about our similarities and our shared needs, the greater our ability to avoid conflict over resources and settle disputes reasonably, breeding peace in the world.

supporting the success of refugee womenMs. Elisabeth N. for achievement:

Your continued struggles for your family’s well-being have paid off and now you have reached your goal – you have a safe new home and you are working in the service of your family and your community. We are thrilled that you are starting to volunteer alongside those in Women of the World that have helped you – paying forward the kindness you have received.

Ms. Sara A. for achievement:

When people are motivated and hard-working, it shows people around them what is possible and helps them become better. Mentoring others is difficult but fills you with grace and hope. Your commitment to your dreams through preparation at Banking for Women and starting a catering business will pay off for you and your family; your service in the community will help the community grown stronger.

Supporting refugee women holiday celebration volunteersFurthermore, community partners including Ikea and the Salt Lake County were recognized for their continued support of Women of the World and the Annual Holiday Celebration.  It is on the strong support of community organizations like Ikea and the Salt Lake County that Women of the World is able to serve refugee women and keep them on a path toward their self-sufficiency. 

Giving Tuesday in support of refugee self-reliance

Women of the World has been spreading the word about how amazing Utah has been in support of refugee women's self-reliance -- see the below spot on Comcast Newsmakers that went international on CNN Headline News.More support is always needed.  Women of the World knows that your holiday dollars are stretched thin, but for just $20 you can ensure that a refugee family can celebrate in the holiday season along with its community.  For just the price of a night at the movies, you can help a refugee mother give the warmth of the season to her family.  Just by knowing that her community is there for her -- her self-reliance is bolstered.Consider using Giving Tuesday in support of refugee self-reliance.Giving Tuesday in support of refugee self-relianceBelow is a more detailed account of what is possible when Women of the World is utilized to support women refugees no longer supported by intake agencies and who want to excel.

It was 11pm when I received a call from one of the ladies from the Congo.  She was crying but conveyed with her broken English mixed with French that she had lost her wallet on the bus.  She was so frustrated because her green card and her ID was in it. I had to calm her down, told her that tomorrow morning I would go and apply for new green card and ID.This woman is a survivor of war, oppression, poverty and rape, she is a single mother of three and a grandmother, all of whom depend on her for support. Her mother is paralyzed and she also needs a lot of help.The government supports her with food stamps but she only receives cash assistance if she works for 8 hours a day. She leaves her house from 7am-7pm to babysit for another family from Africa.  Of course no one takes care of her mother when she is gone to work.  As a result of losing her green card, she lost her opportunity to get a handicap accessible apartment (she was living in a basement with many stairs and she has to carry her mother upstairs to take her to doctor appointments).I got her a green card without her paying $460 fine, and I looked for legal places that can pay her to take care of her mother until I found one in an unknown program at Salt Lake County.Now she and her family are very happy and self-reliant because she is taking care of her mother, moved to accessible apartment, got her drivers license, and is learning English.  She is graduating WoW this December!


Love Utah Give Utah 2014

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 andsmall-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 “” 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: 27-3826125Organization page:,Love Utah, Give Utah page:


Generosity of Teton

Thank you Teton Sports Teton Sports has generously donated backpacks for the education of refugee schoolchildren and adults in education for the past two years.  Teton Sports makes the highest quality backpack that I've ever seen, all of the components and craftsmanship are of the highest quality.  These backpacks are not defective or used but come right out of the factory new to our refugee neighbors, a rare and treasured gift for sure.It is this type of donation that goes straight to the heart of what Women of the World hopes to accomplish.  More than any other opportunity granted to refugees, the gift of an education is the most precious and the most highly pursued.  Our refugee children and women work hard at their education, but like the rest of us, feel saddened if they are always using substandard books and equipment.  This donation helps them to feel truly a part of their educational experience, proud to contribute.  It is the little things, the quality and color of the backpack, the continual advocacy on their behalf and their mothers, that will turn today's refugee student into the business, governmental, or nonprofit success of tomorrow.

One Billion Rising Salt Lake City

In a beautiful gesture to help the women served by WoW, our Education Coordinator gathered up some of her friends and designed a One Billion Rising event to support Women of the World.  One Billion Rising Salt Lake City information can be found at or on the Facebook at[wpcol_1half id="" class="" style=""]ONE IN THREE WOMEN ON THE PLANET WILL BE RAPED OR BEATEN IN HER LIFETIME.ONE BILLION WOMEN VIOLATED IS AN ATROCITYONE BILLION WOMEN DANCING IS A REVOLUTION[/wpcol_1half] [wpcol_1half_end id="" class="" style=""][/wpcol_1half_end]On V-Day’s 15th Anniversary, 2.14.13, we are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. ONE BILLION RISING will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers, our solidarity across borders.WE HAVE SOME AMAZING PEOPLE COMING TOGETHER TO PLAN 2 AMAZING, EMPOWERING DAYS OF CELEBRATION!

  • February 14th, 2013

You have the opportunity to participate in a FLASH MOB at Ikea Draper!

Stay tuned for the dance moves to be uploaded to YouTube so you can practice at home, then come join in the fun.
  • February 15th, 2013

You have the opportunity to participate in a evening reception complete with live performances, silent auction and much more. We are seeking donations for both the silent auction and for food/drink for the reception itself.

What does ONE BILLION look like? On February 14th, 2013, it will look like a REVOLUTION.ONE BILLION RISING IS:A global strikeAn invitation to danceA call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture endsAn act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbersA refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a givenA new time and a new way of being

California Pizza Kitchen 100% Donation Day

All day, this Sunday, August 26th at the Orem California Pizza Kitchen, 575 E. University Parkway in Orem, Women of the World is holding a fundraiser along with California Pizza Kitchen where 100% of the proceeds will go to the English Language Learner (ELL) program.    The fundraiser starts at 11:30 am and goes until 8 pm and while the flyer below says it is required, it is not required for this event.

Twice weekly, volunteers flow  from all over the Wasatch Valley, some bringing their kids, others bringing their bookbags, to become teachers of ELL.  They teach in classes, in apartments, and even out on the lawn.  They teach women refugees that are newly arrived in America and those that have been in the system for years but focus has not been paid to their development.  Some of our students have studied grammer for three years but can't communicate.  That's why Women of the World believes in its program -- teaching students in the CLASSROOM OF THE COMMUNITY!

What it means for Women of the World to be dedicating most of this fundraiser to the coordination and materials for the ELL program is that we will be able to pay a partial gratitude to our wonderful, dedicated ELL and Employment Specialist, Ruth Arevalo.  Ruth gives selflessly in order to develop the materials and curriculum for WoW's ELL program and maintains that she learns more than she teaches.  She is a gentle, kind, and patient teacher that deserves all the fundraising (in the form of pizza sales) that Women of the World and our friends and fans can muster this Sunday!

California Pizza Kitchen Fundraiser Flier   

Pizza Fundraiser Supporting Refugee Dental Needs

Support Refugee Women by Eating Pizza - 16 March

Women of the World is proud to present residents and visitors of Salt Lake City and Provo with the opportunity to eat pizza and support refugee women in Utah!  California Pizza Kitchen has generously agreed to donate 20% of the proceeds from their sales all day on Friday, March 16, 2012 to Women of the World's Charitable work.[gn_box title="Rules" color="#333333"]

  1. All food AND beverages are covered.
  2. You must present the image below in order for Women of the World to receive its 20%.
  3. All items regularly priced, you pay nothing extra.


So take the below image and your appetite to any California Pizza Kitchen in Salt Lake City, Murray, or Orem on Friday, March 16th 2012 and support refugee women's dental care, critical health, and service needs.

 Women of the World and California Pizza Kitchen Fundraiser

Refugee Holiday Celebration

“It is better to give than to receive.”

Women of the World was happy to connect the giving of the wonderful, caring, and charitable women of Salt Lake City with the needs of the refugee community. As part of its Refugee Casework, one of the databases that Women of the World has kept in its Dropboxhas been that of the needs of each family. Some may need a vacuum, others may require blankets or bedding, while others request toys or computers for their youngsters. For each of these refugee families, these requests are weighed heavily on the balance of want versus need and often require the patience of months before there is any resolution. That is where the holiday spirit, and a special group of women, stepped up in a big way.Women of the World Clothing and Toy Holiday Donations

Girls Night Out Women’s Group

Women of the World counts on women of all nations understanding the unique struggles of women in other circumstances and supporting one another – and this holiday season the support has been overwhelming! The women’s organization Girl’s Night Out donated new clothing, toys, educational games, computers, and household items toward filling the needs and holiday wishes of Women of the World’s members. Furthermore, a grant was given by a wonderful donor that will be used to futher develop the Refugee Dental Health Wellness Program started this year by Women of the World.

Delivering Gifts - The Christmas Bonus of Nonprofit Service Volunteering

Even though nonprofit service work does not come with a Christmas bonus in the monetary sense, delivering gifts to underprivlidged refugee families that really need these household and clothing items is far more rewarding. The delight and thanks they share for the gifts of strangers makes me enjoy Christmas more than I have in years and gives the special sense of humanity and unity that is the REAL meaning of Christmas.

Red Mango Fundraiser

Hello everyone, I want to invite you all to Orem, Utah to test Red Mango Yogurt & Smoothies. The address is 297 E University Parkway on Friday Oct 21st from 10:30am-midnight. Red Mango will donate 20% of total to assist Women Of the World.  Please take the flyer with you to represent it when you buy.This fundraiser will give local refugee women and their families residing in the Salt Lake Valley the opportunity to receive needed dental care. Fundraiser Flyer 

Eid Celebration

This year the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the celebration after the month-long Ramadan fast, was supplemented by Women of the World's gifts, donations, and community roundtable forum with the Refugee Service Office.  The celebration occurred at the Sugarhouse Park and was very well attended.Traditionally, gifts are given to children for Eid and Women of the World donated toys for both boys and girls and was able to find enough women to donate their lightly used jewelry to give a new necklace or bracelet to each girl.  Clothing and food was donated by Women of the World and dancing and Arabic music was enjoyed by at eid celebration Women of the WorldThe Town Hall style meeting had a lot of good information on housing and social service benefits and we would like to thank Gerald Brown for so patiently listening to the concerns of the members of Women of the World following up on their concerns. 

Spring Cleaning Furniture Donations

This weekend, Women of the World participated in a heartwarming show of charity with Salt Lake and Utah county residents that gave selflessly of themselves by donating their time and money to load up a Uhaul truck and distribute donations of furniture, appliances, and bedding to individuals in need in the community.  Tamee Roberts used her contacts throughout the community to gain access to some fine furniture donations that were loaded by volunteers onto a Uhaul truck and then unloaded to WoW members originating from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.Everyone who participated enjoyed the time immensely.  Young children played together at each house and helped to direct bunk beds into their new places in their rooms; women offered food and drink to tired volunteers; and men and women alike lifted donations into and out of the Uhaul truck.  The smiles of the receivers were only eclipsed by those who participated in all of the hard work of giving.Thanks to Tamee, Samira, and all who donated their much appreciated furniture and appliances to members of the WoW community!

Women of the World Grand Opening Tea Party

On Saturday at 2 pm, the Women of the World held their grand opening celebration for their clients that included over sixty refugee women from various countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.  The event allowed the women to relax with a cup of tea and have a conversation with women from a different background while their children were playing with Women of the World volunteers.The women shared in a light afternoon snack and tea before they were informed of the vision of the Women of the World Organization by the founder and president, Samira Harnish.  Samira's speech contained an inspirational story of her struggles to achieve her dream of education and become an engineer and how she found her way back to the service of women in need.  Samira shared how the mission of WoW, to support women of all nations to achieve their dreams, was "not hyperbole, but possible.  That women's dreams of education, employment, and entrepreneurship could be achieved if we "put our hands together to break through the obstacles in front of us."  Samira went on to discuss the programs that will at first help refugee women to resettle in America (home visits, transportation, medical, and ESL classes) and then develop their skills for employment, educational assistance, or entrepreneurship.  Finally, Samira called us all to service, "to help the woman next to you, and women all over the world, to shine."The fun had just started as the Women of the World kicked off their service to the community by having a free drawing for fivebeautiful blankets donated by Amy Wylie.  The Board Of Directors of Women of the World donated tea cups filled with chocolates to those in attendance and treat bags for their children.  Finally, the mothers received a generous donation of clothing and shoes for their children.  These clothes were again donated by Amy Wylie.The Women of the World would like to thank all of those in attendance and all of those that donated their time, efforts, and gifts to this wonderful event.  We have just started but we are confident that with hard work and a desire to improve the status of all women, we will achieve our dreams.

A Christmas Wish - Fulfilled (in part) by the Women of the World

A Christmas Wish - Fulfilled (in part) by the Women of the World

In this time of giving and good will, I would like to introduce you to Balquees (BAL-keys), an introduction which as her doctor plainly states, may be for a short time.  You see, Balquees was born with a congenital heart defect that has left her tired and without medical treatment options in either Iraq or in America.