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 .

Heart of the Community Acceptance of a WoW Story

The blog Heart of the Community accepted on of Women of the World's client's stories.Utah Bankers Association launched a new social media initiative entitled “The Heart of Our Community!”

We want to give credit where credit is due– the wonderful people and the non-profit organizations they support that work hard to fill the gaps that exist in the fabric of our communities

"Prathi" (not her real name) is a wonderful mother and hardworking woman who has been helping to make her own solutions since Women of the World stepped in and began helping her in mid-2015.  Read her story at

Even after fifteen years of living in Utah Prathi was trapped. As a refugee from Pakistan her hopes of freedom had not been realized. Although she lived in a nice home with her son and could be seen most days at the nearby ethnic food store she was a prisoner. Her home belonged to her husband who no longer shared their marriage bed. She was forced to be a maidservant for her mother-in-law as her husband sought another wife. She couldn’t complain — not because she did not want to — but because even after 15 years of living in Utah, she still spoke no English.

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.

A Mother's Day donation

This beautiful sentiment was left by one of our generous donors in honor of her mom for Mother's Day 2014.  Women of the World is grateful to all of our wonderful donors and their terrific mothers!

Dear Mom, I feel like no matter where I've gone in the world, I'm always the most inspired by the strong women I meet. I know that's because you set the example early of what a strong, courageous, faithful woman truly is. Thank you for being my biggest supporter and giving me the foundation to live my dreams. Thank you for always keeping our family lively, grounded, service-oriented, and moving forward (and out the door). This donation is in your honor, because you've always inspired me by your example to serve, work with other strong women, reach out to our community, and bring others into it. (Plus, this is the group we worked with in SID, and they're really awesome--the founder, Samira, reminds me a lot of you, actually). I love you so much, and miss you every day! Can't wait to see you in a few months. Happy Mothers' Day to the best mother I could ever hope for. xoxo, M 

Cultural Connections on KSL Radio

This week Women of the World was the guest on Cultural Connections with Nkoyo Iyamba on KSL Radio.  Nkoyo is a great friend of Women of the World and continues to broadcast women refugee issues in Utah through her weekly radio program.  In this installation, parenting in the refugee community was reviewed with its unique struggles and important benefits.  Women of the World President, Samira Harnish, feels strongly about these issues, working to enable women refugees to not only improve their educational, language, and employment opportunities, but also their parental skills in this different culture.Refugee women have a stronger cultural connection to Utah thanks to Women of the World's efforts and the media attention that programs like KSL Radio's Cultural Connections.  Please listen to the podcast below and if you like what you here, "like" Nkoyo Iyamba at KSL Radio on Facebook.

Salt Lake City Tribune Article Women of the World

On 10 May, the mobile version of the Salt Lake City Tribune published a nice article about Women of the World's Mother's Day celebration.

"We have 25,000 refugees here in Utah and 98 percent of them live in Salt Lake," Harnish said. "It was my dream to help women in the Middle East, but I realized that there is just as great of a need to help women here, too."According to the Refugee Services office of the Utah Department of Workforce Services, women and girls represent 47 percent of refugee and asylum-seekers, while 44 percent are children under 18.Of those seeking asylum, four out of five chosen are women and children. Yet, though women and children represent the vast majority, most resources are used to help men, placing them in jobs and assisting with assimilation. For every dollar of development assistance, only 2 cents goes to women.Harnish describes the situation of new female refugees as disorienting and, often, demeaning."Women lose their power when they can't understand what is going on around them, either because of language barriers or culture," she said. 'They feel powerless and lack confidence."Through Women of the World, refugees are taught empowerment, through English lessons, weekly meetings and a support network. Along with the daily work, the organization tries to find time for celebration, holding an annual fashion show and, in the case of Mother's Day, having a potluck in the park. In past years, more than 150 women and children attended the event.

Mother's Day Article - Deseret News

Women of the World was featured in a Mother's Day story in the Deseret News.  Our founder Samira Harnish and longtime client Reja Modlam talked to Deseret News columnist Cathy Free about Women of the World.  This year Women of the World is using the tagline "Women of the World went to the ends of the earth to save their children," a tribute to the courage and ingenuity of these mothers.Women of the World featured in Deseret News Mother's Day exposeWomen of the World has already celebrated Mother's Day in Sugarhouse Park and is now preparing for its signature annual Fundraiser, The Refugee Fashion Show, on 8 June at 6pm.  This event shows the beauty of women and the cultures they come from in a fun event highlighting the elegance and grace of our new neighbors.  Tickets are available online.  

Mother's Day Celebration

Mother's Day with Women of the WorldThis Sunday not even a downpour could keep the Women of the World nonprofit organization from celebrating the gifts that each of us has received from our life-giver, the first person we fall in love with in the world -- our mothers.  We met in Salt Lake's Sugarhouse Park near the lake and while it was a cold rainy day outside the park, the pavilion that the Women of the World occupied was warm with the love of over 50 mothers, their children, and their families.Women of the Women, whose mission is to support women of all nations in achieving their dreams, sponsored this event complete with a potluck and live music.  Mothers cooked for other mothers sharing dishes that had been passed down through matriarchal lines for generations and in many different languages.  Kids ran shared their stories of what they cooked for their moms at breakfast and how even their most experimental food was appreciated.  Live music shared the hardship and the joy, the love and the loss of Iran, Iraq, and Africa.

Women of the World would like to thank all of the attendees especially those mothers who took time out of their day to cook and celebrate with other mothers in the universal celebration of the special women that give us life and whose love gives us meaning.