Founder and President of Women of the World was featured this evening on the KUTV program "Inside the Story" with Dan Rascon -- The Iraqi Samaritan. The interview is an upbeat look at the sacrifices that Women of the World makes for refugees and the impact that WoW makes -- "one hug at a time."Samira and our new refugee neighbors' story is compellingly told in the TV story and in the article on the KUTV website. While Women of the World has recently had some great press, Samira Harnish remains focused on the mission, "the important thing is that our Utah neighbors understand the struggles of refugee women and their families." Women of the World is excited to get back to what we do best, the service of refugee women in the programs that help them achieve "their human rights, self-reliance, a voice in the community, and economic empowerment." We are working with over three hundred refugee women and their families and are grateful for all of the support that is developed by the increasing interest in our mission and the wonderful, courageous women that we serve. The Trailer Video on Facebook by Dan Rascon is also a very exciting lead-in to what Women of the World is and the efforts that a day in the life require in order to succeed in service. If you are compelled by this story, please consider contributing your time or other resources to Women of the World.
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:http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865617691/Nonprofit-group-honors-Utahs-women-of-the-world.htmlhttp://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/Pages/gallery.csp?cid=1944696&pid=2057018At the celebration, Women of the World recognized:Ms. 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.
Ms. 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.
Furthermore, 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.
Last night was a great night to meet at the park and hold a candle & stand in solidarity with the women in Iraq that have been raped, that have lost loved ones & continue to weep for an end to war in the Fertile Crescent. WoW held a candlelight vigil supporting Iraqi women caught in the recent violence between ISIS and Iraqi government. These women have suffered horrible atrocities and have been the most affected by the recent violence that Iraq has seen in the incursions from the north.Iraqi women and men, supported by local Utahans and by one another, stood together in the hope that a peaceful end would come to end the violence in Iraq and allow the country to reach a unified government that represents the people's desires. We raised a candle of hope & unity, of support & solidarity, of peace & sisterhood for Iraq and all nations at war.
- There were over 100 people in attendance.
- We received a $2,500 grant from the City of Salt Lake (Signature Events Grant Fund) for the Fashion Show and we spent a little over that for venue, music, food, presents and awards for the models, and advertisements.
- We raised a little over $1,000, mostly from ticket sales. We gave some free tickets to family members of the models
- Many people liked the formal crowning of Miss WoW Fashion Show by Miss United Nation (Nilufar Sherzod). This princess of the event is name Sedra and is pictured at left.
- The Miss United Nation pageant would love to have the refugee models in the pageant, since their participation will help them to be involved in community service and will help them to get a scholarship if they win.
- An example of one of the many e-mails we received after the show
- What did I like: loved the venue. I loved how you had all different ages of models. The dresses were beautiful. I liked how we all got to mingle and chat with the models
- What I liked: overall it was a fabulous night with a good atmosphere. It was so fun and it sparked my interest to learn more about refugees in this area.
- Suggestions for next year: I would like to see more things for the silent auction. (a few people volunteered to put together baskets for next year all ready)
- Other suggestions for next year: I would like to hear more about the model's countries that they come from & their personal stories if it's not too intrusive. ( I know this part might be hard since it was hard enough getting everyone's names in order. You never know who's going to show up:)
If you have any suggestions for our Fashion Show, our organization, or want to help in any way, we would love to have you. Please leave your comments below or go to our contact page and fill out the form to email us. Thank you for your continued readership and following Women of the World!
Beautiful. Professional. Elegant. Amazing. Dazzling.These are just a few of the words that came out of the mouths of the attendees of the Women of the World Refugee Fashion show on Friday night. Then Founder and Executive Director spoke and added one more word: COURAGE.For every beautiful dress, for every elegant step, for every reserved-blooming-to-proud smile – there is a story of a second-hand t-shirt in a camp, a run for your life, a scream. Each of the women in the refugee fashion show takes a step away from being a victim and toward freedom… and their footfalls echo in the hearts of all of humanity. They ran from oppression to represent the culture that would not die, they each walked to educate us in our freedoms.This year’s fashion show featured women and fashions from Ghana, Congo, Iraq, Kurdish Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Senegal, Tajikistan, Brazil, Nepal, Sierra Leone, and Karen women from Burma. In the days leading up to the event, they put the finishing touches on their clothing and practiced walking the runway with Miss Tajikistan, Nilufar Sherzod. “Nil” taught each of the women about the differences between the traditional fashion runway model and a cultural fashion runway model – the slower pace, when to pause and give the audience a greeting from the nation’s traditions, and of course, how to smile and show your pride in representing your culture. It was Women of the World’s distinct pleasure to have Miss Sherzod mentor the young models and we encourage each of you to support Miss United Nations - Nilufar Sherzod.[gn_pullquote align="left"]They ran from oppression to represent the culture that would not die, they each walked to educate us in our freedoms.[/gn_pullquote]Pierpont Place was decorated and the caterers from the Red Rock Brewery started to deliver the delicious food for the event. The volunteers and staff from the Women of the World took their places and began to welcome the guests. Over 100 guests, friends, and family attended the nights events.The talent of the supporters of Women of the World continued to come to center stage as the MC of the night’s events and KSL TV and radio reporter, the host of Cultural Connections, Nkoyo Iyamba. Using her knowledge of fashion from her entrepreneurial vision of bridal dresses and her understanding of cultures as a reporter of Salt Lake City diversity, Nkoyo dazzled the crowd with her encyclopedic knowledge and endeared them with her ever-present wit. Women of the World could not have picked a more beautiful, more charismatic host for the event and is greatful for Nkoyo’s joy in presenting each of the models and their cultural heritage.After a message from the Fashion Show volunteer coordinator Felicia Sanchez and a thanks to those who donated generously to the Fashion Show’s Silent Auction (see list below) by Development Director Justin Harnish, Samira Harnish delivered her message that detailed both the beauty and courage of the Women of the World and the need for each of us to support refugee women in order to develop families and our communities.Then it was time for the Fashion Show.(For more information about the outfits and cultural background of each of the fashions, see the slides detailing some of the traditional fashions)We started with beautiful little children wearing the traditional clothing of their homelands. Of course these little ones were met with the the most fantastic ahhhs and ohhhs of all of the models. It was not just because of their cuteness, they had the grace and skill on the catwalk after their time in training with Nil and the rest of the Miss Universe models.The teens followed, each beautiful and with an air of invinsibility, so common to an American teen. There are so many stories in this group. In the days before the Fashion Show, we met Mami and her sister Rosabelle from the Republic of the Congo. We learned how long it has taken for them to achieve this confidence in the United States, how their high school classmates made fun of their English, and how they don’t associate with any country yet. You couldn’t tell on the catwalk, Rosabelle beautiful, studious, and shy was poised, while her sister, tall and elegant, passionate about becoming a fashion model, was professional. All of the confidence of being where they belong could be seen.Finally, the adults, the mothers came out onto the catwalk. Iran, Congo, and Iraq were all represented. They brought there families, some walking the same catwalk as their daughters, sharing the pride they feel in their heritage. There are not words enough for how beautiful the women and girls were, showing from both the inside and outside. The video footage and the photos show it all.There are so many people to thank but for the part of this blog, Women of the World would like to thank the fans that attended the Fashion Show and that dilligently read and subscribe to the blog. Thank you for all of your support.
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 all.The 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.
Women of the World is proud to present the First Annual Refugee Fashion Show at the City and County Building in Salt Lake City, Utah. This event showcased the various fashions of the women and men from both the Middle East and various regions throughout Africa. Those at the event stood in awe and amazement at the beauty and elegance of the women's fashions and at the fortitude and grace of their presenters, the members of the Women of the World.This event was extremely satisfying for all involved. For the models, this was one of the rare opportunities where they were made to feel beautiful while expressing their heritage. You can see in the video that while at first this was an uncomfortable event for them, they quickly warmed to our grateful and enthusiastic crowd and felt the way they always should - whole, confident, and amazing. Some of our models have quite the knack for it, showing sass, dignity, and bliss all in the same round. By the end, no one wanted to go, each taking their deserved encores before rounding up their cameras and taking pictures with their friends and families.As a member of the crowd of onlookers, I was immensely proud of each of the women who against the odds maintained their sense of style and a connection to their heritage. Each of the women looked beautiful and showed it in their individual way, some through reserved tenacity, others through a professional sass in expression and motion that barely contained their inward glee at the opportunity to be themselves, and by this fact, be beautiful. The crowd's shouts could be heard from Temple to Timpanogos Mountain as they celebrated their daughter's, their mother's, and their sister's delight.Women of the World would like to thank Visage Salon Studios for collecting donations to improve the Fashion Show and the mission of WoW. Read the 21 July 2011 update in the Sugarhouse Journal.See the videos on our You Tube Channel and all of the pictures at our Picasa site!