refugee stories

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.

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.

Saida Dahir: If I’m Silent, Hate Wins

Then it was Saida’s turn to speak. A sixteen-year-old refugee from Somalia who spent the first three years of her life in a Kenyan refugee camp, Saida escaped the turmoil and destruction in her native land to make a home in Utah with her family. Wearing a big smile, a black hijab with white stripes, and a “Black Lives Matter” sweatshirt, she strode confidently to the microphone.“I’m black, I’m Muslim, I am all these stereotypes. I’m a woman. My whole identity has been under attack.”

Resettlement: A Refugee's Long Journey to a New Home

[et_pb_section background_image="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Somali-refugees-in-Ethiopia-UNICEF-Ethiopia.jpg" transparent_background="off" allow_player_pause="off" inner_shadow="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" padding_mobile="off" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="on" 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" 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_3" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" column_padding_mobile="on"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="2_3" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="on" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_divider color="#ffffff" height="200" divider_style="solid" divider_position="top" divider_weight="1px" hide_on_mobile="on" admin_label="Divider" disabled="off"] [/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section transparent_background="off" background_color="#f7f7f4" allow_player_pause="off" inner_shadow="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" padding_mobile="off" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="on" 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="on" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="0px||2px|" padding_mobile="on" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="off" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="off" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" admin_label="row" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="1_3" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Sans||||" text_font_size="10em" text_text_color="#323232" text_line_height="1.1em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="0px||0px|" disabled="off"]16[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider color="#aeaeac" show_divider="on" divider_style="solid" divider_position="top" divider_weight="1px" hide_on_mobile="off" admin_label="Divider" custom_css_main_element="width:20px;" disabled="off"] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Sans|on|||" text_font_size="18" text_text_color="#363636" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="-10px||0px|" disabled="off"]FEBRUARY, 2017[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Sans||||" text_text_color="#02b875" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="20px|||" disabled="off"]Refugee CampsResettlementSociety[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="2_3" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" max_width="620px" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Serif||||" text_font_size="24" text_font_size_last_edited="on|tablet" text_text_color="#363636" text_line_height="1.4em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="10px||0px|" disabled="off"]Nimo Hashi nervously adjusted her hijab as she scanned the passengers arriving at the Salt Lake International Airport terminal last Friday, hoping to catch sight of her husband in the crowd. Her two-year old daughter, Taslim, dressed for the occasion in a blue jumper with large white polka dots, shifted back and forth in her white shoes, looking back occasionally at her mother’s anxious face.[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" max_width="620px" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Serif||||" text_font_size="20" text_font_size_last_edited="on|tablet" text_text_color="#363636" text_line_height="1.5em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="30px||0px|" disabled="off"]When Abdisellam Hassen Ahmed emerged from customs, Hashi, flowers in one hand and Taslim in the other, walked over to her husband, and the family quietly embraced. Ahmed planted an enthusiastic kiss on Hashi’s cheek and beamed as he hoisted his daughter into his arms for the first time, touching her face in wonder. Taslim looked a bit puzzled, not surprising since she’d never met her father. But at that moment, everything else faded into the background — the years of waiting, the unexpected delay, the fear that Ahmed wouldn’t be able to enter the country at all. What mattered now was that their family was finally together.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="on" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="5px|||" custom_padding_tablet="17px|||" padding_mobile="on" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="off" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="on" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" admin_label="Row" custom_padding_last_edited="on|tablet" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="4_4" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_image src="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Somali-Refugees-in-Dolo-Ado-Ethiopia-UNICEF-Ethiopia.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="off" sticky="on" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" admin_label="Image" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_width="1px" border_style="solid" disabled="off"] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Serif||on||" text_font_size="16" text_text_color="#363636" text_line_height="1em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="20px||0px|" disabled="off"]Many Somalis spend their childhoods in refugee camps.[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Serif||on||" text_font_size="12" text_text_color="#363636" text_line_height="1.2em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="6px|||" disabled="off"]Photo credit: UNICEF-Ethiopia[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="on" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="0px||8px|" padding_mobile="on" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="off" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="off" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" admin_label="row" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="1_3" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="2_3" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" max_width="620px" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Serif||||" text_font_size="20" text_font_size_last_edited="on|tablet" text_text_color="#363636" text_line_height="1.5em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="30px||0px|" disabled="off"]

Somalia: A Country in Crisis

A 30-year civil war in Somalia, punctuated by famine, drought, and numberless civilian deaths at the hands of armed militias, has left generations of Somali refugees either born or living in exile. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 1 million Somalis have fled to surrounding countries, primarily Kenya, Ethiopia, and Yemen. Another 1.1 million more are displaced in camps within Somalia.Refugee camps are meant to be temporary, but many Somali refugees have lived in these camps for decades. The Kenyan government is in the process of closing Dadaab, the country’s largest refugee camp, plunging many of these refugees into despair over an uncertain future.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="on" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="9px||9px|" padding_mobile="on" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="off" 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="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_divider color="#aeaeac" show_divider="on" divider_style="solid" divider_position="top" divider_weight="1px" hide_on_mobile="off" admin_label="Divider" disabled="off"] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" max_width="900px" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Serif||||" text_font_size="48" text_font_size_tablet="38" text_font_size_last_edited="on|tablet" text_text_color="#363636" text_line_height="1.3em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="16px||30px|" disabled="off"]

"Refugee camps are meant to be temporary, but many Somali refugees have lived in these camps for decades."

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider color="#aeaeac" show_divider="on" divider_style="solid" divider_position="top" divider_weight="1px" hide_on_mobile="off" admin_label="Divider" disabled="off"] [/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="on" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="17px||9px|" padding_mobile="on" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="off" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="off" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" admin_label="row" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="1_3" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="2_3" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" max_width="620px" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Serif||||" text_font_size="20" text_font_size_last_edited="on|tablet" text_text_color="#363636" text_line_height="1.5em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="30px||0px|" disabled="off"]Ahmed’s story is fairly typical. Now 29, he has lived in refugee camps since he was three. He and Hashi met in an Ethiopian refugee camp after fleeing Somalia to escape the horrors of the country’s long-running civil war. Hashi had already applied for refugee resettlement to the United States when they met and was waiting to hear back about her application status. When she was accepted in 2014, she was married and pregnant with Taslim. She and Ahmed decided it was best for her to go to America without him while they waited for his application to make its way through the vetting process.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="on" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="on" gutter_width="2" custom_padding="7px|||" custom_padding_tablet="30px|||" padding_mobile="on" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="off" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="off" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" admin_label="Row" custom_padding_last_edited="on|tablet" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="4_4" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_image src="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Somali-family-Ethiopia-UNICEF-Ethiopia.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="fade_in" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="on" always_center_on_mobile="on" admin_label="Image" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_width="1px" border_style="solid" disabled="off"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="on" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="off" gutter_width="3" custom_padding="17px||0px|" padding_mobile="on" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="off" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="off" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="on" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" admin_label="row" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="1_3" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" admin_label="infographic" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" disabled="off"]refugee-admission-to-USA[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" max_width="140px" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Serif||on||" text_font_size="12" text_text_color="#363636" text_line_height="1.2em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="6px|||" disabled="off"] [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="2_3" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" max_width="620px" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Serif||||" text_font_size="20" text_font_size_last_edited="on|tablet" text_text_color="#363636" text_line_height="1.5em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="30px||0px|" disabled="off"]

The Refugee Resettlement Process

The U.N. estimates that approximately 26,000 Somali refugees are currently working through the resettlement process to move to the U.S., a process that can take anywhere from 18 months to three years. While some Americans are ready to welcome these refugees with open arms, others are more cautious. Some are even skeptical that the vetting process can prevent terrorists from landing on U.S. soil. Many people do not understand how incredibly difficult it is for refugees to apply for asylum, much less make it through the arduous resettlement processFor starters, less than one percent -- ONE PERCENT--- of all refugees are referred by the UNHCR for resettlement, and only a small portion of that one percent is referred for resettlement in the United States.The vetting process includes numerous steps, cross-checks, and safeguards. Let’s take a look at the resettlement process, the strictest form of security screening for any traveler to the U.S., with its series of extensive background, security, and health checks.1. Refugee StatusAn individual or family must apply for refugee status with the UNHCR. The U.N. collects identifying documents, biographical information. and biometric data such as iris scans or fingerprints. Applicants undergo an in-depth interview to determine whether they qualify as refugees and are strong candidates for resettlement.2. Referral to the United StatesIf the applicant meets the criteria for resettlement in the U.S., he or she goes to a Resettlement Support Center (RSC). An international resettlement agency or nonprofit contracted by the State Department conducts further interviews, compiles additional background information, and assembles data required by U.S. security agencies for further screening.[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" admin_label="Text" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" disabled="off"][/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="3px|0px|38.84375px|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"]

3. Security Clearance

The security screening process includes a comprehensive investigation into the applicant’s travel history, affiliations, criminal history, cellphone usage, and social media activity. Applicants from countries with higher terrorist activity, such as Syria or Iraq, are subject to increased scrutiny. Up to six government agencies are involved in the security clearance process, including the Department of Homeland Security, State Department, FBI, United States Intelligence Community, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Defense.

4. In-person Interview

Applicants are interviewed by specially trained personnel from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), photographed, and fingerprinted. Their biometric data are cross-checked against several government databases, including the FBI, DHS, and Defense Department databases, to ensure they aren’t on the terrorist watch list or have committed a crime.

5. DHS Approval and Medical Screening

If the applicant is cleared by DHS, he or she must undergo a medical exam to ensure he or she is strong enough to travel and treated/free from any diseases that could threaten public health.

6. Matching with a Sponsor Agency

The applicant is matched with one of nine national resettlement agencies, who then assign the refugee to a resettlement site with a local affiliate. Catholic Community Services and the International Rescue Committee of Salt Lake are the main resettlement organizations for refugees arriving in Utah. Organizations like Women of the World provide ongoing support to refugees when resettlement services from these local affiliates end.

7. Cultural Orientation

Incoming refugees attend cultural orientation classes to help them adjust to life in the United States. Classes provide refugees with basic information and skills to help ease the transition to their new home.

8. Second Security Clearance

The International Organization for Migration issues the necessary permits and books travel. The applicant is still subject to additional security clearances/checks until departure for the U.S. to ensure the clearance is still valid.

9. Airport Check

Prior to entry to the U.S., applicants are subject to additional screening from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center and the Transportation Security Administration’s Secure Flight Program to confirm the refugee’s identity as the person screened and approved.

10. Admission to the United States

Local resettlement-agency affiliates help refugees settle into their new home and provide initial services such as housing, furnishings, food, and clothing for up to 90 days. They also offer assistance with employment, English-language instruction, and job training. Refugees are expected to become self-sufficient as quickly as possible, no small feat considering the hardships they’ve endured over many years.

A New Life in Salt Lake

Ahmed and Hashi know how fortunate they are, even with the struggles that still lie ahead. Ahmed will need to find a job, learn English, get acquainted with his little girl, and become familiar with the rhythms of life in this new land. But for now, sitting on the couch in his apartment with Taslim and Hashi, he has all he needs.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section transparent_background="off" background_color="#222222" allow_player_pause="off" inner_shadow="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" custom_padding="0px||7px|" padding_mobile="on" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="on" 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="on" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="on" custom_width_px="1080px" custom_width_percent="80%" use_custom_gutter="on" gutter_width="2" custom_padding="40px|||" padding_mobile="on" allow_player_pause="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" make_equal="off" column_padding_mobile="on" parallax_1="off" parallax_method_1="off" parallax_2="off" parallax_method_2="off" parallax_3="off" parallax_method_3="off" parallax_4="off" parallax_method_4="on" admin_label="Row" disabled="off"][et_pb_column type="1_3" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_image src="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Fashion16-1.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url="https://womenofworld.org/celebration-refugee-womens-success/" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="off" sticky="on" align="center" force_fullwidth="on" always_center_on_mobile="on" admin_label="Image" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_width="1px" border_style="solid" disabled="off"] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Sans|on|||" text_font_size="12" text_text_color="#888888" text_letter_spacing="2px" text_line_height="1.2em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="30px|||" disabled="off"]SUCCESS STORIES[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Sans||||" text_font_size="24" text_text_color="#ffffff" text_line_height="1.2em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" disabled="off"]Celebration of Refugee Women's Success[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_image src="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Cosette-900x900.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url="https://womenofworld.org/burundi-utah-cosettes-story/" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="off" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="on" always_center_on_mobile="on" admin_label="Image" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_width="1px" border_style="solid" disabled="off"] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Sans|on|||" text_font_size="12" text_text_color="#888888" text_letter_spacing="2px" text_line_height="1.2em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="30px|||" disabled="off"]PODCAST STORIES[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Sans||||" text_font_size="24" text_text_color="#ffffff" text_line_height="1.2em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" disabled="off"]Latest Podcast[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_image src="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Fashion16-4.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url="https://womenofworld.org/modeling-our-world-2017-fashion-show-fundraiser/" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="off" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="on" always_center_on_mobile="on" admin_label="Image" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_width="1px" border_style="solid" disabled="off"] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Sans|on|||" text_font_size="12" text_text_color="#888888" text_letter_spacing="2px" text_line_height="1.2em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" custom_margin="30px|||" disabled="off"]TRAVEL[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" admin_label="Text" text_font="PT Sans||||" text_font_size="24" text_text_color="#ffffff" text_line_height="1.2em" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" disabled="off"]Fashion Show[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Stories of Courage - Elisabeth Ngaba

[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text"]Elisabeth was born in Central African Republic. She arrived in Salt Lake City with her three children and her paralyzed mother escaping war, oppression, and poverty. She came here in search of a better and more fulfilling life for her children only to be led into what seemed like another vicious cycle of oppression.Without knowing her legal rights as a woman, English, and the local laws, this better life that she risked everything for seemed to be failing her. Through courage, determination, and the support Women of the World was able to provide for her, Elisabeth did not give up. Quite the opposite, actually.Elisabeth now has a full-time job as a caregiver for her dear mother. She has an apartment full of happy children, practices English multiple times a week, and studies enthusiastically for the United States citizenship test. Her strong, compassionate personality and beautiful smile never fade. She is caring, humble, and always ready for a good laugh. On the few occasions when I need to remind Elisabeth about Saturday morning English class she always replies on the phone, “I’m coming I’m coming I just need to get ready!” I always wait with anticipation to see the beautiful outfit that Elisabeth puts on even just for a Saturday morning English class.Through continued hardships and tragic news she keeps on learning, studying, and making the best of each situation.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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.

Stories of Courage - Mu Say

When I first called Mu Say to ask if I could write a short story about her and take her picture, she answered me quietly and in almost perfect English, “I am sorry but can you repeat that? I don’t speak English.” I knew right at that moment she was being overly modest.Mu Say was born in Burma but spent 18 years at a refugee camp in Thailand, where her son was born. Mu Say arrived in Utah on a snowy day in March. “It was so cold and so much snow! In my country there is no snow.”She explained that it was difficult for her when she first arrived in Salt Lake City. Her family was the only Karen Burmese in town and she didn’t speak any English. In fact she was illiterate in her native language. She remembers one day being asked to write her name. “I didn’t even know how to write my own name,” she told me in a good-humored tone as her timid smile stretched across her soft-featured face.I didn’t know Mu Say when she arrived in Utah years ago, but the woman I know today is incredibly successful and very humble. She became a US citizen and proudly goes to school every single day to practice her English and other studies. She is respectful, helpful, and now has a great community here in Salt Lake. When I asked her about her community she said quietly and bashfully, “Oh… community? I am sorry I don’t know what that means.” After explaining the concept to her she smiled and replied, “Oh yeah. I have a big community!” She has a gentle but at the same time incredibly strong presence.