personal story

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.

Josephine's Journey: Refugee from Congo Finds Hope, Home in Utah

Three thousand miles. That’s how far Josephine walked through the jungle to escape the bloody civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo to reach South Africa. Josephine's indomitable spirit helped her escape from war-torn Congo and adjust to her new life in Utah. Her story will touch your heart.

Mashallah: Refugee Women Express Gratitude to WoW Case Manager Abby Bossart

The refugee women who visit Women of the World’s office come with different stories, different burdens, and different challenges, but they all seem to have one thing in common: their heartfelt appreciation and affection for case manager Abby Bossart.

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.

From Burundi to Utah: Cosette's Story

[et_pb_section transparent_background="off" allow_player_pause="off" inner_shadow="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" custom_padding="11px|0px|57px|0px" padding_mobile="off" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" make_equal="off" use_custom_gutter="off" fullwidth="off" specialty="off" admin_label="section" disabled="off"][et_pb_row make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="9px|0px|9px|0px" padding_mobile="off" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="on" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="on" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" admin_label="row" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="4_4" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" admin_label="Text" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" disabled="off"]We'd like you to meet Cosette. Her story is one of courage, resilience, and unfailing optimism. From her childhood in a Rwandan refugee camp, to her family’s struggles in their native Burundi, to her journey to the United States to start a new life, she has consistently met each challenge with strength, conviction, and heart.

A Short History of Burundi

Cosette’s family is originally from Burundi, a small country in East Africa. Most Burundians belong to one of three major ethnic groups: Hutu, Tutsi, or Twa. The three groups coexisted in relative peace until Germany colonized the region in the late 1890s. European rule exacerbated existing social differences between the minority Tutsi and majority Hutu and contributed to general political unrest across the region. After World War I, the territory was ceded to Belgium, which ruled Burundi and neighboring Rwanda as Ruanda-Urundi. Belgium's requirement that Hutus and Tutsis to carry ethnic identity cards, along with the elevation of Tutsis to positions of power, helped divide the country into political "haves" and "have nots," leading to increased hostilities between the two groups.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="42.75px|0px|35px|0px" padding_mobile="off" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="on" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="on" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" admin_label="Row" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="1_2" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" admin_label="Text" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" disabled="off"]

Burundi finally gained its independence from colonial rule in 1962 and became a constitutional monarchy. A series of assassinations, coups, rebellions, and ethnic-based retaliations led the prime minister to abolish the monarchy and establish a de-facto military republic in 1966. Ongoing unrest from the late 1960s to the early 1970s came to a head in 1972, when the army systematically killed "educated" Hutus over a six-month period. The slaughter, also known as the Burundi Genocide, left an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 Hutus dead and another 300,000 people displaced as refugees. In 1976, a bloodless coup brought Colonel Jean-Baptiste Bagaza into power as the country's new president and de-facto dictator.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_code admin_label="Code" disabled="off"][/et_pb_code][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="7px|0px|42.75px|0px" padding_mobile="off" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="on" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="on" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" admin_label="Row" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="4_4" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" admin_label="Text" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" disabled="off"]

In 1987, Major Pierre Buyoya toppled Bagaza's dictatorial government. Unlike his predecessor, though, Buyoya sought to heal the country's ethinc rifts, promoting equal representation of Tutsis and Hutus in government and establishing a national commission tasked with strengthening national unity. His progressive leadership led to the adoption of a new constitution in 1992, Burundi’s first multi-party, democratic presidential election in 1993, and the election of the country's first Hutu president.

The country's sojourn with democracy was short-lived, however. The new president, Melchior Ndadaye, and his successor, Cyprien Ntaryamira, were both assassinated within the space of a year. Ethnic clashes increased and ushered in a period of civil war that lasted from 1993 to 2005, resulting in the deaths of approximately 300,000 Burundians.

The country appeared to stabilize following a peace agreement in 2000, but strife erupted again in 2015 when the president decided to run for a controversial third term, a move many believed was prohibited by the country's constitution. Since then, more than 250,000 people have fled Burundi as tensions and acts of violence mount. Opposition militias are mobilizing in neighboring countries, and human rights group are currently warning of a return to civil war and a "second" Burundian genocide.

Cosette's Interview

Despite continuing unrest and threats of violence in Burundi, Cosette remains upbeat about her country and hopes to return there one day to be with her family and friends. We’ve selected a few excerpts from her interview with Women of the World to share with you. We invite you to listen the entire interview on our podcast.

Can you tell us about your childhood?

“I was born on December 28, 1985, in a refugee camp in Rwanda. My parents left the country in 1980 to save their lives. It was very hard for them to leave their jobs and their home, but they did it and went to Rwanda. They had nothing with them, but they did have their diploma, so they could find work. But my parents decided to go back into Burundi in 1990, so we went back.”

What was it like for your family to return to Burundi after so many years away?

Burundi Flick Creative Commons Christine Vaufrey

"Life is not so easy, particularly when you leave all of your stuff behind. Somebody can take over (what you left), and you have to fight to get your stuff back. My parents had many problems looking for a job and somewhere to live, and there was no help. We got a little bit of help from the government, but not very much. Luckily, my parents were able to get a job and start working.”

How did you come to the U.S.?

“Oh, that’s a really long story! (laughs) So, I finished high school in 2004 and got married. I was a teenager and crazy (laughs). In 2006, my (now) ex-husband got a scholarship to China to get a master’s degree. So he went to China, and I went back to college. In 2009, he told me to join him, and I did. We signed up for the lottery to come to the U.S., and we got in on our first try, so that’s how we came to America: me, my ex-husband and our two children. We came first to Alexandria, Virginia. I was so happy!"

What were your biggest challenges when you arrived?  

“I didn’t speak any English, I spoke French! I learned English first from watching movies. Then they gave me this website I could use to learn English for my driver’s test, and so I used that website. Nobody was expecting me to pass my test, but I did! People told me, “Oh, you go try it, people try like 10 times to get it, you’ll be fine,” and then I got it on the first try. I surprised them, it was my lucky day (laughs). My ex-husband was waiting for me outside with my son, and he says, “Oh, it’s okay, you can come back again,” and I said. ‘No, I got it,” and he’s like, “No you’re joking,” and I say, “Yeah, I did it.”

How did you come to Utah?  

“I had a friend who lives here who said she could find me a job. So I moved to Utah with my children in 2014. I like Utah, it’s a quiet place and I like quiet. I work as a supervisor in a warehouse. I really like that job, you don’t just sit around, you have to be walking around and doing stuff. I told my boss I wanted to work in the warehouse and he said “you have to have muscles,” and I said “I want to do that, I don’t want to be bored.” So he hired me. And when the supervisor position opened up there, I applied and I got it!

I (ultimately) want to be a nurse, so I go to school every evening. I passed my math class (laughs and cheers) so okay, I’m done with math (laughs). So now I’m doing English and psychology. They’re telling me I have to do chemistry, and I hate chemistry, but I will try.”

How has Women of the World helped you?

Women of the World Podcast Team: Samira Harnish, Cosette, Christine Osborne, and Abby Bossart

“Women of the World has helped me a lot. When I wanted to get a divorce, I was wondering how I could get any (child support) from my ex-husband, and they helped me. And any time I have any problem, I come to them. I know I can make some calls, but sometime you think you cannot do it, then you need the support. And when I come to see them, I know everything is okay.

Woman like to keep things inside their hearts, not to share, and I think it’s good to have a place to go, a place you can tell your friends to go to, because you can trust (Women of the World), they will help you. Women need some encouragement, even if it’s just to talk with them. If they can open their heart to you, it really helps them.”

What are your dreams for the future?

“My dream is that my children finish high school, go to college, get PhD (laughs)…So when my children be set and get a job, I will go back home. All my friends are back home. I don’t want to get old here. I want to get old with my friends, talking about our young times. I get a chance to come into this country, it’s a great dream for many people in the world. But I will stay here for my children, work like crazy, give them what I can give them, and let them see if they want to stay here.

You know, your country is your country. I went to visit in 2013, and I’ve really missed my family. I wanted to go again in 2016, and I was telling my mom I wanted to come, and she said, “No, don’t come, there is something going on here, don’t come. If we have to die, we want to know there is someone living from our family.” It’s not easy, not to be able to be with them.”

What advice would you give to women in Burundi about what you’ve learned from living in the U.S.?

“If I go back, I would tell the women in my country to listen to their hearts and maybe try something new. The culture in Burundi says women can’t do that, but if they can open their mind and do it, they cannot give up. I am a free person, and I like to do stuff in my way, and we have some kinds of women like me in my country. If women ask me, I’d say what is the problem with doing this, tell me. If it’s about the culture and nobody is doing it, then I will be the first one doing it (and they can do it, too).”

 

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/There-is-no-greater-agony.jpg" 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="https://womenofworld.org/newsletter-subscription/"] [/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="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/13147703_10153537858797967_2952787285045343053_o.jpg" 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"]

Identity

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.

Communication

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="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Saida.jpg" 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]

Episode 4: August ’16 Refugee Podcast with Chantelle from Congo

[et_pb_section admin_label="section" transparent_background="off" allow_player_pause="off" inner_shadow="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" custom_padding="11px|0px|57px|0px" padding_mobile="off" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" make_equal="off" use_custom_gutter="off" fullwidth="off" specialty="off" disabled="off"][et_pb_row admin_label="row" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="9px|0px|9px|0px" padding_mobile="off" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="on" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="on" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" disabled="off" border_color="#ffffff"]Today we visit with Chantelle whose infectious positivity will infect you with hope for a better tomorrow. Chantelle is an inspirational mother, one who is constantly striving to better herself to ensure her children have all of the advantages that she never had.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="42.75px|0px|35px|0px" padding_mobile="off" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="on" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="on" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_text admin_label="Subscribe on iTunes" background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]Women of the World’s refugee podcast is a place where ‘our ladies’ can share their stories and aspirations and where we can highlight activities important to refugees and service providers in Salt Lake City, Utah and around the world.PodcastSubscribeButton[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_code admin_label="Libsyn" disabled="off"]<iframe style="border: none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4663447/height/90/width/640/theme/custom/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/backward/no-cache/true/render-playlist/no/custom-color/87A93A/" height="90" width="640" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>[/et_pb_code][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Episode 3: July ’16 Refugee Podcast with Elisabeth from Central African Republic

[et_pb_section admin_label="section" transparent_background="off" allow_player_pause="off" inner_shadow="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" custom_padding="11px|0px|57px|0px" padding_mobile="off" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" make_equal="off" use_custom_gutter="off" fullwidth="off" specialty="off" disabled="off"][et_pb_row admin_label="row" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="9px|0px|9px|0px" padding_mobile="off" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="on" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="on" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" disabled="off" border_color="#ffffff"]Today we speak with Elisabeth from the Central African Republic about her life in CAR, her flight with her young children and her disabled mother and her arrival in Utah. In this interview we will hear about how Women of the World gave Elisabeth 110% by not stopping at just getting her a green card but also by getting her a job caring for her disabled mother and helping her find a more accessible apartment. Elisabeth shares her love for WoW and her desire to take her programs back to CAR and help women and girls there.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="42.75px|0px|35px|0px" padding_mobile="off" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="on" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="on" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_text admin_label="Subscribe on iTunes" background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]Women of the World’s refugee podcast is a place where ‘our ladies’ can share their stories and aspirations and where we can highlight activities important to refugees and service providers in Salt Lake City, Utah and around the world.PodcastSubscribeButton[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_code admin_label="Libsyn" disabled="off"]<iframe style="border: none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4554645/height/90/width/640/theme/custom/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/backward/no-cache/true/render-playlist/no/custom-color/87A93A/" height="90" width="640" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>[/et_pb_code][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Episode 2: May ’16 Refugee Podcast with Diane from Burkina Faso

[et_pb_section admin_label="section" transparent_background="off" allow_player_pause="off" inner_shadow="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" custom_padding="11px|0px|57px|0px" padding_mobile="off" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" make_equal="off" use_custom_gutter="off" fullwidth="off" specialty="off" disabled="off"][et_pb_row admin_label="row" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="9px|0px|9px|0px" padding_mobile="off" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="on" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="on" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" disabled="off" border_color="#ffffff"]Women of the World’s Podcast for this month features Diane from Burkina Faso, one of the political asylee seekers that Women of the World assists. Diane is an amazing young woman, choosing her path against the pressure of family and culture, choosing to be happy even though she has suffered some very personal tragedies.Diane is extraordinarily courageous in this interview as she talks about her young life of political dissent where rape was used as a tactic of intimidation, overcoming the stigma of female genital cutting, and her current struggle to gain an education against the wishes of her father and tribal chief who is set on a more traditional life for her.Women of the World’s Podcast team also discusses the recent Mother’s Day celebration and some international press coverage we received on the Bold Global blog.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="42.75px|0px|35px|0px" padding_mobile="off" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="on" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="on" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_text admin_label="Subscribe on iTunes" background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]Women of the World’s refugee podcast is a place where ‘our ladies’ can share their stories and aspirations and where we can highlight activities important to refugees and service providers in Salt Lake City, Utah and around the world.PodcastSubscribeButton[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_code admin_label="Libsyn" disabled="off"]<iframe style="border: none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4405895/height/90/width/640/theme/custom/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/backward/no-cache/true/render-playlist/no/custom-color/87A93A/" height="90" width="640" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>[/et_pb_code][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Layla

Beautiful inside & out.Originally from Morocco, Layla has now made Salt Lake City her home. What I admire most about Layla is she is always willing to lend a helping hand. She is so generous, always willing to share her culture through food and thought. Although a bit shy and soft-spoken at first, she is very determined to create an even better life for herself here in Utah.She is just a graduate of dental assisting studies. I have no doubt that Layla will get a great job working with patients to make their smiles that much brighter.refugee women stories

Episode 1: April ’16 Refugee Podcast Premiere

[et_pb_section admin_label="section" transparent_background="off" allow_player_pause="off" inner_shadow="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" custom_padding="11px|0px|57px|0px" padding_mobile="off" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" make_equal="off" use_custom_gutter="off" fullwidth="off" specialty="off" disabled="off"][et_pb_row admin_label="Row" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="42.75px|0px|35px|0px" padding_mobile="off" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="on" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="on" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_text admin_label="Subscribe on iTunes" background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]Women of the World’s refugee podcast is a place where ‘our ladies’ can share their stories and aspirations and where we can highlight activities important to refugees and service providers in Salt Lake City, Utah and around the world.PodcastSubscribeButton[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_code admin_label="Libsyn" disabled="off"]<iframe style="border: none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/4345502/height/90/width/640/theme/custom/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/backward/no-cache/true/render-playlist/no/custom-color/87A93A/" height="90" width="640" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>[/et_pb_code][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="row" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="off" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="9px|0px|9px|0px" padding_mobile="off" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="on" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="on" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" disabled="off" border_color="#ffffff"]In this month’s episode of the Women of the World Podcast, we cover1. Women Mormon Conference

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Conference gave direction to its followers to serve refugees through local organizations. On their new webpage http://iwasastranger.lds.org they give inspiration and scripture for their commitment to refugees. Our new webpage, womenofworld.org/getinvolved/iwasastranger/ answers some of the question from the lds.org website and steps through our volunteering process. With your help, refugees will be strangers no more.

2. Founder Samira Harnish Awarded Ruby Award for Excellence in Women’s Advocacy

3. Stepping Back From the Ledge As Sisters
4. Peace and Justice Conference
5. Monthly Story of Refugee Success
  • Beautiful inside & out. Originally from Morocco, Layla just a graduate of dental assisting studies. I have no doubt that Layla will get a great job working with patients to make their smiles that much brighter. https://womenofworld.org/layla/

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Stepping Back From the Ledge As Sisters

“I want to kill myself. I don’t want to live anymore."

What horrors did this young mother from Congo experience for her to utter these words in front of her young children?

Mami is a late afternoon walk-in to Women of the World. She has cried through the day, her dark complexion stained with sadness. She is thin, her past sickens her. She is striking. Her kids are adorable, quiet, and well-behaved. They place their heads gently on the new blanket I give them from our donation closet.

If you cannot be compassionate with Mami, you aren’t capable of compassion.

Mami's friend, Pam, brought her to Women of the World. Pam has donated all of her time today. At dawn, Pam happened past the office. It is fortunate she did... more than fortunate, Women of the World is on an industrial street, we don’t get foot traffic. It was grace.

“Mami, I know you have suffered…"

Mami cut off Samira, the WoW Director. “You don’t know my story, no one knows."

“Mami, it is true. I don’t know. And you don’t know mine. Everyone has pain and feels their own hurt is more than what anyone has."

supporting the success of refugee women IMG_7616

Mami is not her name. It is a term of endearment that WoW service staff have picked up to call central-African women. Iraqis use momma. It’s like a Southerner woman's “hun” to another woman. The respect and love of cooing “Mami” began to settle her down.

“I want to get you some help. Give you the opportunity to see a counselor."

Mami was violently raped in Congo. The beautiful kids with her are not her husband’s, they are the children of soldiers sent to rape and pillage. Refugees did not come to Utah for the American dream, they are fleeing a nightmare. Modern war is hell on earth, the most psychologically damaging sequence of events you can imagine, times thousands. You can’t imagine it, it is more horrific than your psyche will allow you to conjure.

"I don't want to go back to my resettlement agency. Not them. They don't help."

Refugees did not come to Utah for the American dream, they are fleeing a nightmare.

We get this from time to time. The resettlement agencies serve a lot more people, but they can't always spend the time needed to listen, empathize, and rebuild trust. Women of the World is different. We offer custom solutions, a boutique for cases more dynamic and difficult than the majority of refugee cases.

Women of the World offers a sisterhood.

Stepping Back From the Ledge As Sisters

"No I will get you someone to talk to at UHHR. They can help you. They will listen and give you advice to find a way to not be sad all the time."

The Utah Health and Human Rights organization is trained in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment and only serve refugees. Women of the World partners with them often.

"Can you trust me to help you?"

"Yes, I can. You are my sister."

"Yes. You can always find your sisters here.  Abby, Maya, and I and any of our volunteers we have help you are your sisters."

"I never have had family here..."

"Now you do, Mami. Now you do."

Stories of Courage - Zaina Kaboi

“Thank you mama.” If you ever have the pleasure of interacting with Zaina you are sure to hear this phrase multiple times. Zaina is from Congo and came to Salt Lake City 5 years ago as a widow.When I first met Zaina she immediately embraced me, a complete stranger. Even though she can only mutter a few words in English her loving personality and optimistic presence speak loudly. Upon first meeting her I noticed that she could barely walk due to a complication with a surgery she had on her knee a few years ago. “Bad knee bad knee,” was all the information I could get but I knew that her bad knee was severely limiting her. She spent the days at home, alone, and in a lot of pain. With the help of Globus Relief, Samira and I were able to purchase a “rollater” (a type of walker with a seat attached to it) for Zaina. This simple gift was enough to give Zaina a sense of purpose again.Right as I finished assembling it for her a wide smile stretched across her face as she loudly said, “good good!” Zaina is now able to leave her house, walk to English class, and stroll to my office to “meet” with me even if that just means to merely sit down and smile. It is obvious the determination she has each Saturday as she attends our Practical English Program.Through her bashful laughs and beautiful smile it is easy to see her happiness shine through as she continues to learn for the sake of learning. She never complains and eagerly accepted my invitation to take her picture—she loves the camera.

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 https://womenofworld.org/. For more information about The Leonardo Museum visit http://theleonardo.org/ .

Stories of Courage - Kaltum Mohammad

A spice for life! When I first met Kaltum I remember being amazed at how passionate she was about spices, flavors, and all things cooking. I also remember how willing she was to share her delightful dishes with everyone! She knows how to take charge and make the most out of every situation. Her lively energy and determination will take her far, not only in the restaurant industry, but also in life.

She is No Longer Desperate -- She is Thriving

By Rebecca Brown Wright “I need someone to adopt my daughter so I can kill myself.”Samira Harnish, founder of Women of the World, was shocked as she listened to this woman’s desperation.“Why are you talking like this?” she asked the woman.The woman told of how she had watched her husband and son die right in front of her in a terrorist car explosion in her former country. She was forced to go on the run with her daughter to save their lives, eventually ending up in a refugee camp, where she and her daughter remained for five years.“I didn’t even want to come to America,” she confessed to Samira.“Well, why did you come then?” Samira asked.“I want my daughter to have a better life,” the woman responded.“Then do that,” Samira told her. “Give her a better life. If you die, you’ll destroy her. You’ll be breaking her future if you kill yourself.”Samira broke down in tears as she recounted this exchange to me, still deeply moved years later by the desperate situation that would lead a woman to feel her only option is death.Thankfully, the woman chose not to end her life. With Samira’s encouragement, she jumped into American life, learning to support herself and her daughter. Today, she smiles freely and enjoys life. She contributes to American society, and her daughter is gaining many valuable experiences.While the memories and horror of her experiences will never leave her, she is no longer desperate.In fact, she is thriving.Thriving in AmericaThere was the young girl from West Africa who suffered and survived genital mutilation, who suffered and survived multiple rapes, who tried to commit suicide. Coming to America was hopeful for her – a fresh start.But when she found work in a restaurant here in Utah, she began to be abused by a co-worker who would throw things at her and tell her to clean them – in addition to her already-heavy workload.She loved where she worked, but didn’t know how to get out from under this treatment. Would speaking up get her in trouble? Would she lose the chance to stay in America? Should she just stay quiet?She came to Samira in tears, and Samira helped her understand her rights and how to approach her boss with the information about what was happening.“When these women come to America, they have one thing in common,” Samira said. “They want someone to hear them. Advocate for them. Educate them and show them the way. Ease their way into American society.”samira-harnishAnd Samira does just that. She’s developed a safe community within Women of the World, where women can be heard and helped; where woman can learn to advocate for themselves; where they can gain empowering education and can contribute to Utah’s rich culture.“I want people to see these ladies,” Samira said. “I don’t want us to look at them and say they’re coming here to take our money. I just want fresh thinking. They are here. How do we make them good citizens if we’re not paying attention to them and not being a friend to them?”Samira doesn’t just talk the talk. She also walks the walk, and to date has helped 400 women become empowered right here in Utah. These women are not only helping to support their families, but they are giving back to the community at large – as well as the Women of the World community, with many of them choosing to volunteer their time once they find their footing.12402049_1086169761423899_991451615808452249_oA donation to Women of the World helps women, which helps families, which helps the community. We all win when someone heals from past horrors, when someone learns English and finds a job, when someone learns how to speak up for herself and be treated with dignity.Women of the World heals and empowers.Please donate to help a woman gain her footing here in America. Simply choose an amount below.