speeches

The intersection of acting locally and thinking globally: The United Nations Civil Society Conference hosted by Salt Lake City

The intersection of acting locally and thinking globally: The United Nations Civil Society Conference hosted by Salt Lake City

Women of the World is excited to welcome all attendees to The United Nations Civil Societies Conference being held in Salt Lake City next week, 26-28 August. Women of the World staff and volunteers have been very active in planning this conference. Samira was selected to speak on the Peaceful Societies Thematic Session Panel

Refugees Welcome March on Utah State Capitol

[et_pb_section background_image="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/BannerWithBanners.png" transparent_background="off" background_color="#ffffff" 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" custom_padding="57px|0px|6px|0px" 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||15px|" 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"]8[/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, 2016[/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"]ActivismRefugeeMuslim Ban[/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"]Refugees flee horror. It is a moral failing to leave refugees scratching at the gates of mercy.[/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"]The resistance against the moral failings of the current administration has begun. Immigrants, native Utahns, Mormons, and Muslims all marched together to protest the vile ban on refugees and immigrants.Women of the World led in the march. Founder and Executive Director, Samira Harnish, gave the below speech, which is published in its entirety with a video linked below.[/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="16px||12px|" 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_code admin_label="video"][/et_pb_code][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"]Samira's inspirational speech at the Utah State Capitol[/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"]SLC Voices on YouTube[/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||20px|" 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="4_4" 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 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"]

Refugees Welcome Speech

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Samira Harnish and I am the Founder and Executive Director of Women of the World, a women refugee service organization here in Salt Lake City.Like many of you, I am a mixture of identities. That is still what makes America great. I am Iraqi. I am American. I am an immigrant. I am a mother. I am a Nana. I am a Muslim. I am a sister. I am a wife. I am the voices of our women from Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Yamen, Nepal, Burma, Sudan & many other great countries.I am a woman of the world.I am here today to ask our representatives to denounce the President's Muslim ban. I am here to ask federal, state, and local leaders to put our children’s future above the Republican Party. You are meant to represent the best interests of the people, not the powerful.As a mother, I know something about bullies. I know that bullies hide weakness. I know bullies think we won’t fight back. I know that bullies never stand alone but surround themselves with other bullies.Does this sound like anyone you know? Have you seen this bully mock a disabled person? Threaten a professional woman?Are we going to be bullied? I said, are we going to let the bully rule over our country?As a refugee service provider, I know refugees are more courageous than anyone I know. Refugees began their journey under the cover of night. They ducked bombs. Their homes and cities are vanished. Even in these conditions, their humanity shines. They rescue a child, find food for their families.Refugees have suffered at the hands of our enemies. They are the escaped human shields. They have been tortured. Disabled. Their family members killed.It is only your mercy that can spare them a similar fate.They have gone to the ends of the earth to save themselves and their children. They were courageous in getting here... Will you be as courageous in defending their right to be here?In my native Arabic, America is known as Um Aldinia. Um is mother, Aldinia is world. The mother of the world. Like a mother, America is caring, can be tough in her love, but is fair. Today we are acting more like the family's racist uncle…I still remember that night in 2008 when I celebrated with my husband and our friends the nomination of the extraordinary gentleman with an identity as mixed as mine.But more than his nomination, his work, or his coolness under pressure; I will always resonate with President Obama's creed.  A simple statement that speaks both, to the hope and the community of a nation.Yes we can.Even when times seem dark. Yes we can.Even when the gates to immigration seem locked. Yes we can.Even as the tears of hopelessness stream down our face. Yes we can.Even as we stand up to power that would discriminate on religion. Yes we can.As we win the battle of ideas over alternative facts. Yes we can.As we stand for those that have lost liberties in the airports,yes we can…Lost liberties leaving the prisons----------- yes we can…Lost liberties being outside the wall------------yes we can…After being laid off-------yes we can…Or denied health care of any kind-- Yes we can --Yes we can…Yes we can.Now I’m going to end with simple directions.The best way to serve refugees is to give them a voice and be their friend. Say it with me: give them a voice & be their friend.In giving them a voice, make sure your voice is heard. Go to 5calls.org everyday and call each of your representatives on immigration and refugee issues.  Again that website is the number 5, C A L L S dot org. Make five calls every day and make your voice heard.Finally, befriend refugees and immigrants. Even a simple smile to someone that might have had their status questioned or that may have had a family member turned away is enough to brighten their day.Take an interest in where they are from, invite them over for the Superbowl, believe me, they will get great pleasure from being included.Give them a voice and be their friend. Thank you.[/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="4px|||" 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"]"I am here to ask federal, state, and local leaders to put our children’s future above the Republican Party.You are meant to represent the best interests of the people, not the powerful."[/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="on" gutter_width="2" custom_padding="17px|||" 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="1_2" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_image src="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Capitol2.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_image src="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Capitol.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="fade_in" sticky="off" 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_column][et_pb_column type="1_2" disabled="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" column_padding_mobile="on"][et_pb_image src="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/Livingston.jpg" alt="Refugee March on Capitol of Utah" title_text="Refugee March on Capitol of Utah" 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" custom_margin="34px|||" disabled="off"] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_image src="https://womenofworld.org/wp-content/uploads/MarchOnStateStreet.jpg" alt="Refugee March on Capitol of Utah" title_text="Refugee March on Capitol of Utah" 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" custom_margin="34px|||" 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="6px||6px|" 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="4_4" 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 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"]It is not enough to just claim that the actions of our leaders are deficient, we must act on our moral outrage. Women of the World has been doing this in a non-partisan manner throughout its entire life. We live in complex times and are both the cause and the best solution for refugees. We can offer excellence in local solutions and struggle against our leaders' misguided policies globally.What is guaranteed is that Women of the World will be at the front line in giving refugee women a voice and guiding friendships between "locals" and our new neighbors.[/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|||" 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/modeling-our-world-2017-fashion-show-fundraiser/" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="fade_in" 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"]Event[/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"]Modeling Our World5th Annual Fashion Show[/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/Fashion16-2.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url="#" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="fade_in" 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"]Op-Ed[/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"]Believing Is The Absence Of Doubt[/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="fade_in" 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[/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"]Our Latest Podcast[/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."

Founder Samira Harnish Awarded Ruby Award for Excellence in Women's Advocacy

The customized solutions and the impact they are having on empowering refugee women were awarded today with a Ruby Award, by the Soroptimist Club of Salt Lake City.  The Ruby Award is given each year to a woman of distinction who has been helping women in our community. This year Samira Harnish received the award at the Soroptimist’s Annual Ruby Award Gala on the 24th of March.
The Soroptimist Club is a worldwide organization with clubs in over 132 countries and 80,000 members (see also www.soroptimistinternational.org and www.soroptimist.org).  The local club supports our international activities plus activities in our local community specifically for women and girls.
Samira is honored to be awarded by such an amazing service and philanthropy group as the Soroptimist Club. In her address she explained,
The struggles of refugee women are different from their men.  They face the traditional requirements of women -- homemaking, childcare, and emotionally enabling their men -- but soon realize their families need them to work, to gain skills, and to “get over” their sadness of what they lost, what suffering was forced on them, and help get out of poverty.Getting out of poverty and having a voice means not taking NO for an answer.  Women of the World’s customized service is about going to:… the same immigration and housing agencies,… the same benefits office,… into the schools or business… and talking to the same people over,…and over,…and over again.Until they get it right.
The community of Salt Lake City is extremely giving and always offers its new neighbors a helping hand. It is amazing being a small nonprofit organization in Salt Lake City as our big-hearted neighbors always want to offer a helping hand.
2016-03-23 18.38.13

Remarks at Women of the World Awards Ceremony Julie McAdams

I’m so pleased to join you today and to share in celebrating what Women of the World have accomplished. I was looking on Samira’s website and I learned some amazing things. Utah is home to over 20-thousand refugees and most are women and children. The fact that you are all here, together today, is such an incredible story of what the human spirit can endure and overcome.

  • Some of you have survived unimaginable violence, in your homes and in war zones around the world.
  • Some of you have seen family members hurt and killed.
  • You have been torn from your homes.
  • You’ve been forced to flee your country. You have lived in refugee camps, sometimes for years.
  • Once you do find refuge in a new country, and are safe, there are other challenges, such as learning a new language, finding a way to earn a living and gain access to basic needs such as housing and health care.
  • And you learn to integrate into a new culture and a new community.

I’ve never had to overcome anything as difficult as you. But because I’m also a woman, and a mother, I feel a bond with you. We may not come from the same culture, but we share the same experience of having children, wanting protecting them and make a good life for them. We worry about their happiness and we try to calm their fears. We feel pride in their accomplishments.When we feel tired, or discouraged, or threatened, what keeps us going is the responsibility and the joy we feel as women and as mothers to our families. We know how difficult, or even impossible, it would be to replace the love and understanding that mothers give. So, we keep going, against all odds. We try even when we’re exhausted. We don’t give up, even when we’re discouraged. We keep being brave, even when we are frightened.FH000089And as you have proven, not only do you survive, you triumph and succeed in creating a new home and a new life.I would never wish for anyone to have the hardships you have had, but there may be a rainbow at the end of the storms you have weathered. Your experiences have made you resilient and strong. Along your journey, you have triumphed over fear, hunger, exhaustion and trauma. The qualities that brought you to this point in your lives will be a valuable example to your children and other family members. They will see what it means to overcome terrible trouble. They will have learned from you how to keep going, even when it seems impossible to take even one more step. That example will help them as they make their own lives in this new home. They won’t be afraid to take a risk, start a business, enroll in school or join in with a new community.Last month, you may have celebrated an American holiday known as Thanksgiving. You may know the history behind this. About 400 years ago, a small boat called the Mayflower left England, carrying 102 passengers. They were seeking a new home where they could freely practice their religion. After 66 days at sea, they landed at a place called Massachusetts. Through the first brutally cold winter, they suffered from disease and hunger. Only half the people survived until spring. Then they received a visit from a Native American Indian, who spoke English. He came back with another Indian who had been held as a slave in England, but eventually escaped and returned to North American. These Native Americans taught the newcomers how to grow corn, get sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. The next year, to celebrate their first successful corn harvest, the Pilgrims and the Native Americans held a three-day festival – the First Thanksgiving.You now are part of America’s story – where many different people who sought freedom and safety made the necessary sacrifices to come and start a new life.Utah is very fortunate to have you as part of our community. We have a lot to learn from each other. Be yourself. Put your head up. Teach us about you and where you came from and how you got here. We welcome you and we are so happy for you to be part of the fabric of our community.Thank you for inviting me to be here today and to celebrate with you. It is my wish and my prayer that the future is bright and that you receive all the support you need to rebuild your lives.FH000104

Women of the Mountains Speech

Women of the World Founder and Executive Director, Samira Harnish, gave a Women of the Mountains Speech on the exploitation of refugee women at each stage of their journey to Utah: escaping from war and violence, refugee camps, and resettlement.

In addition to the devastating physical and mental trauma that occurs as a result of war and time in refugee camps, refugee women in Utah continue to face exploitation in their new lives in Utah.

Refugees are exploited as their children learn English before their parents and they and their friends take advantage of this role reversal, often joining gangs, having unwanted pregnancies, or getting into legal trouble.  Another source of exploitation involves the bureaucracy they face in navigating immigration or the social safety net.  Finally, poverty and those that would prey on the less fortunate can be ruinous on refugee women who do not know their rights and are afraid of being sent back to camps.

In order to continue to overcome the exploitation of refugee women, we must work hard at all times to protecting our ladies’ human rights, help them heal, and enable their self-reliance.

Women of the World would like to thank the Women of the Mountains Conference for inviting us to speak and explain the causes of exploitation and how our programs: Customized Service, Practical English, and Economic Empowerment are helping to overcome it. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865638548/Conference-allows-Utah-to-connect-globally-with-those-in-mountain-regions.html?pg=all#eDkIRJ0TZVkLWql0.01 

Public Radio Return on Refugee Service Investment

This morning, the Salt Lake City Public radio station KRCL aired a brief interview with Women of the World Founder and Executive Director, Samira Harnish, on the "Return on Investment" that support for the refugee women population can have on the community.The women refugees that make up part of our new neighbor populations here in America have overcome great adversity to start at the bottom in our system, but Women of the World believes that like many immigrants before them, these refugee women will integrate and become self-reliant.As you know from reading this newsletter, Women of the World differentiates itself in the landscape of refugee service by focusing on women still facing issues after their resettlement benefits have expired.  Women of the World builds self-reliance by customizing service to the specific need, working alongside "our ladies" to solve the issue together, and building capacity in English, employment skills, and education.Samira Harnish says, "It can be hard, challenging to overcome a past of violence and oppression, a struggle against poverty in a new home where the rules and language are unfamiliar, but our ladies love it here because they have a chance to keep their kids safe and through hard work, succeed."That is the Return on Investment that Women of the World guarantees the communities it works in.http://www.krcl.org/the-roi-women-of-the-world/

3rd Annual Refugee Fashion Show

Women of the World's 3rd Annual Refugee Fashion show was a resounding success!!!Women from all over the world modeled in this celebration of the beauty and courage of our new neighbors.  Burundi, Congolese, Burmese, Iranian, Iraqi, Nepalese, Ethiopian, Rwandan, Sudanese, and Afghani women graced the stage at Pierpont Place on Thursday evening in to show their native country's fashions.  A sample of the photos that were taken are on Women of the World's Flickr page on the album 3rd Annual Refugee Fashion ShowA sampling of some of the fashions on display include:

IMG_8765Burundi beautiful, smart, kind Sandrine wearing Burundi traditional dress “Imvutano.”  She would typically dress up in Imvutano for weddings and church. This type of clothes basically symbolize the respect and dignity of a Burundian lady.The top of this ensemble is sari-like, with the fabric draping over one shoulder, across the bodice and leaving the other shoulder bare.  

Another example, from Burma:

IMG_8713Smart, vibrant Mary Nei Mawi and Dawt Dawt, are from Chin State in Burma. They are wearing beautiful Chin Traditional clothing. They mainly wear this type of dress on special occasions such as Chin National Day, Christmas, New Year’s, and wedding ceremonies.   

All of the photos of this event on Flickr represent an important milestone in the journey of our refugee women neighbors and friends.  As Founder and President Samira Harnish states to introduce our models...

As you applaud each of them as they walk the catwalk, think about the steps they took before the ones you are seeing – running away from violence and oppression, scared and hoping only for a safe night’s sleep. Think about what they left behind -- a comfortable job, house, and their families – sometimes even their own sons and daughters.Their beauty comes not only from their features or clothing; but from their strength and amazing courage to find a better life here in Utah.

Women of the World is indebted to all of the volunteers, supporters, directors (and directors' spouses) that helped to make the 3rd Annual Refugee Fashion Show such a tremendous success.  Women of the World would especially like to thank the primary sponsors for the Fashion Show.

Thank you to the 2015 Fashion Show Sponsors

“sponsor “sponsor “sponsor

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

Fashion Show Salt Lake City Event

It is that time again... Women's Fashion Show Salt Lake City Event, celebrating International Women's Day and our new refugee neighbors and their cultural heritage.This fashion and cultural event is at once a heartfelt celebration of the various refugee cultures in our community (Sudanese, Burundi, Iraqi, Burmese, and many others) and a celebration of the beauty and fashion of women from around the world.  Our new neighbors have struggled against war, rape, genocide, oppression in their native homes and in refugee camps and are determined to make Salt Lake City home, a community where they contribute!  And contribute they are... our ladies are making some of the greatest strides in overcoming PTSD, illiteracy, and poverty and contributing in their children's schools, in the workplace, and in college and university.  More than this, they contribute to our understanding of the world and to our humanity in helping others new to where we grew up and live.The Women of the World Fashion Show Event is:

WHEN: Thursday, 5 March 2015 : 5:30 - 9:00WHERE: Pierpont Place, 163 Pierpont Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84101TICKETS:  http://wowfashionshow.brownpapertickets.com ($35 includes food & Fashion Show ticket... a wonderful opportunity to meet some of these courageous ladies!)CONTACT: 801 - 648 - 9692 or samira 'at' womenofworld 'dot' org

We are actively searching for sponsors to join Ally Bank, Pierpont Place, and Soul Salt who are graciously donating resources to enable our 3rd Annual Fashion Show Event to be the best yet.  Please utilize these local businesses that support community development and our new refugee neighbors.allyimageslogoPlease join us for this wonderful event! 

Love Utah Give Utah 2014

Women of the World needs your support!Supporting refugee women in achieving their dreams!

On Thursday, March 20, 2014, Women of the World (WoW) is participating in Love Utah, Give Utah 2014, a statewide event raising funds for non-profits that make our state great!WoW has been very successful in helping refugee women reach self-sufficiency since its beginnings in 2010.  Refugees flee war and genocide and are saved by communities like South Salt Lake City.  There are over 40,000 refugees in Utah, with more coming everyday due to the ongoing violence in places like Syria and South Sudan.We are a Salt Lake City-based charity supporting refugee women integration through our programs that:

  • Teach practical English language skills,Women of the World fundraiser
  • Partner with local financial institutions and employers on job skills workshops andsmall-business development
  • Develop human rights advocacy customized for the individuals housing, immigration, health, or legal needs.

For our refugee spokeswoman (see below), Social Pal from Burma, WoW is building on her excitement for education, helping to place her with the right post-secondary opportunities.Women of the World has earned several distinctions including: Google Grants, UWABC Grant, Guidestar Transparency in Non-Profits Award,  the Utah Women’s Giving Circle, and the Refugee Services Office Grant.

WoW is also the proud recipient of the 2013 Salt Lake City Human Rights Award.

This is where we need your help.

We are currently seeking donors to build our crowdfunding campaign. All proceeds generated through our efforts will benefit, Women of the World, a registered 501(c)(3) charity.  Simple use our “http://loveutgiveut.razoo.com/story/Womenoftheworld” link to donate anytime before or on March 20th.

If we can bring more information to your consideration or if you or someone you know would like to personally join our team our contact info is listed below.
Women of the World - Tax ID: 27-3826125Organization page:  https://womenofworld.org/,Love Utah, Give Utah page: http://loveutgiveut.razoo.com/story/Womenoftheworld

  

Ladies Night Out 2014

We are excited to announce our Ladies Night Out event in April.

A donation through Love UT Give UT or our ticketing website gets you and your lady friends night of fun, drinks and treats! Get your tickets early, we have limited space in this beautiful lounge for you and your guests!

  •  Thursday, April 24, 2014
  • 5:30pm until 7:30pm
  • Celtic Bank
    • 268 South State Street, Suite 300
    • Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
  • Get Tickets (wow2014.brownpapertickets.com)
  • Facebook Event Community

Women of the World needs your support! 

Supporting refugee women in achieving their dreams!

On April 24th, 2014 Women of the World (WoW), a young local non-profit is planning an evening to raise funds and support its growth! WoW has been very successful in helping refugee women reach self-sufficiency since its beginnings in 2010. This Salt Lake City based charity supports refugee women to achieve their dreams by offering services to successfully navigate their new surroundings including: English language skills, job skills workshops, post-secondary education opportunities and legal advocacy. This organization is a valuable resource to our community; it has earned several distinctions including: Google Grants, UWABC Grant, Guidestar transparency in non-profits award and the Refugee Services Office Grant.WoW is also the proud recipient of the Human Rights 2013 award, presented by the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office of Diversity and Human Rights.This is where we need your help. We are currently seeking donors willing to provide goods and services for a silent auction, as well as food and drink to be sampled during the reception and sponsor the event. All proceeds generated through our efforts will benefit, Women of the World, a registered 501(c)(3) charity.  Please use the contact form below to get in contact with us or signup on our Facebook Event Page to learn more details.

Sponsor the event

Lead Sponsor- $500

Be one of select few lead sponsors. Receive recognition in event advertising materials, TV banner at the event & eight event tickets

 

Mini Sponsor- $200

Receive recognition at the event via a TV banner add & four event tickets

Contribute Product/Service

Value TBD

Contribute appetizers for reception or donate products/gift certificates for silent auction and drive people to your business

Volunteer

Join the WoW Fundraising Committee and/or volunteer to work at the event

[contact-form-7 id="2447" title="Fundraiser"]

Interview on KTalk AM Radio with Founder of Women of the World

On 5 March 2013, Women of World Founder and President, Samira Harnish, interviewed on KTalk AM Radio program "Celebrating Women" with Cate Allen.  Women of the World programs that support refugee women and anecdotes about them in this heartfelt interview. What is the objective of the organization?

  • Women of the World strives to support women of all nations to achieve their dreams.
  • In order to do this, we must develop women’s skills
    • (in English,
    • employment,
    • and as the head of the household)
    • and give them a voice
      • (by advocating and serving them in their
        • housing,
        • immigration,
        • and legal needs).

 What motivated you to start the organization? 

  • As a young girl in Iraq, I dreamed of the day where I would be able to help women that had struggled against cultures that did not give them an equal chance or that had oppressed them.
  • I have always served women and girls, even before starting Women of the World,
  • but as I saw Iraqi women coming to Utah as refugees, I knew that I had to do more for them since
  • I knew the language (Arabic) and the culture they were coming from.

How long ago was it started, and how many people participate in the organization?

  • I started Women of the World almost 2 years ago and there are about 10 volunteers supporting over 150 refugees, mostly women and girls.

What kind of activities does your organization hold, and what is the purpose of those activities?

  • Women of the World holds numerous activities that educate and entertain, that support women’s issues and develop their skills.
  • Some of these include our English Language Learner classes and tutoring sessions, that each occur twice per week.
  • We also have a mother’s day event and an International Women’s Day Event that celebrate women’s roles.
  • Our Refugee Fashion Show celebrates the beauty of women and the diversity of refugee cultures.
  • We also have workshops on
    • employment skills,
    • parenting,
    • and have recently spoken out and educated on domestic violence with our 1 Billion Rising Events.

Tell me about some of the women you have helped through the organization.

  • Women of the World has helped some amazing women.  I want to stress that while we have certainly done some “big” things which I’ll talk about, we also assist with the much needed little things that add stress to our refugee ladies.
  • I get asked to
    • read and explain a lot of mail,
    • to call into the food stamps program,
    • or to attend parent-teacher conferences.
  • One of the ladies that I have done all of these “little” things for and some big things like
    • translating in her ongoing fight against cancer
    • and helping her to get her driver’s license
  • is now volunteering with Women of the World, using her driver’s license to transport refugees in need.
  • Her son, came to America as a teen and fell behind in school and in with a bad group,
    • but seeing his mom empowered led him to pursue a different path – he is now studying nursing
  • Another of the women I nurturingly call “my ladies” started in a room in her nieces house.
  • Afraid to disrupt the family balance, she never went out of her room or took meals with them.
  • She came to me, desiring a job, and quickly we got her one.
  • Through her hard work as a hospital janitor,
    • she was able to rent a small apartment
    • and we worked together with immigration to get her husband to America
    • and I’m glad to report that just this last Monday, he arrived from Ethopia where he was greeted by his independent, loving wife.
  • Because my path to success as a new immigrant was through education, I have a special place in my heart for those that succeed in school.
  • I have worked tirelessly with the financial aid programs at the universities and community colleges in Utah to get grants for women refugees.
  • I happily report that we are getting women into school for 100s of dollars per semester, 10X reductions in pricing.
  • These women are succeeding in their studies.

8.    What are WOW’s goals for the future?

  • We want women to be empowered to achieve their financial, family, and community goals.
  • We want women refugees to be equipped for the future,
    • to be able to use their skills and talents to improve their situation,
    • get a good job,
    • and contribute in the community.
  • We want them to be healthy in their minds, bodies, and spirits.
  • We want them to support one another against domestic violence and discrimination.
  • We want them to achieve their dreams.

9.    How can someone help WOW achieve those goals? 

  • Womenofworld.org slash donate or slash get involved are the best ways to find out what opportunities are available for monetary donations or volunteering.
  • As a nonprofit started from the heart and not the wallet, we are always trying new ways of fundraising as we have many needs and few resources.
  • Top on our list is to secure the lease on an office in Salt Lake City,
  • a safe place for our women to build community with one another and develop job skills and English.
  • Every donation helps to support a refugee woman torn from her home due to war or genocide that arrived in America with nothing except their hopes for a better life.

12. Why is it hard for a female refugee from abroad to transition into America?Imagine for a moment that in the middle of the night, your brother or husband came to you and said, “wake the kids, we have to leave now.”  What would you try and bring in your one bag?  That is the best case for our refugee ladies.  The constant violence in their homeland, often forced on them and their families, scars them for life with severe PTSD, sexually transmitted disease, and even physical war wounds.Then they stay in camps, filled again with dangers and disease.  Sometimes this lost time in the camps can last decades where they fall behind, don’t get a good education, and get very depressed and ill.Finally they come to America and don’t understand any of the languages or the customs.  They are quickly forced to work or lose their home, but don’t have the skills to support themselves or an understanding of the beuracracy of the welfare system that is trying to keep them afloat.13. How do you hope WOW will change the lives of women refugees?

  • By giving them a voice and being their friend.
    • In other words,
      • we educate them,
      • serve their social welfare needs,
      • and advocate on their behalf.
  • All of this in an attempt to empower them
  • to not balance two cultures but to blend them, the best of both
  • And anyone that can tutor English or be a friend can help.
  • Service is such an important part of our humanity.
  • The generosity and gift of friendship of our clients to our volunteers,
  • the sharing of experiences and sense of purpose
  • are great reasons to befriend one or more of our clients.

14. Why is helping female refugees important?

  • As I have said before, any service to others less fortunate then ourselves is the truest display of our humanity, the inherent goodness in us all.
  • But why female refugees?
  • No one is more oppressed by war at home and discrimmination abroad.
  • Women refugees are more likely to have had rape used as a tactic of war,
  • have faced a family honor killing,
  • and those from Africa are often genitally mutilated.
  • They are mothers in danger of losing their sons and daughters to gangs speaking English they can’t understand.
  • They are battered wives who often face their husband’s frustration in their new life.
  • They want to work and use their talents to help their families.
  • They want the best for their families and that is why they are here.
  • And since they want to succeed, they will, with just a little push in the right direction.  Just a little guidance and help.

15. Tell me anything else about WOW that you’d like to share. 

BYU Hunger Banquet Keynote Speaker

Samira-during-refugee-conference-speech-1024x768Women of the World's Founder and President, Samira Harnish, is excited to deliver her message of hope detailing the successes of our refugee neighbors and the programs of Women of the World that support them at the BYU Student for International Development Hunger Banquet on 16 March 2013 at 7 p.m.  In her speech, "Voices of Hope: Women Refugees in Utah" Samira details how Women of the World came into being, her own struggles as an immigrant in America, and the problems modern day refugees in Utah face and programs that help to solve them.According to the event's webpage on the Brigham Young University site:

For twenty-three years, Students for International Development has worked with the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, the International Development Minor, the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance, and BYU Dining Services to host an annual Hunger Banquet to raise awareness within the BYU community about global poverty and wealth inequality.This year’s Hunger Banquet will take place Saturday, 16 March 2013 in the ballroom of the Wilkinson Student Center. We are excited to welcome Samira Harnish, founder of Women of the World, as our keynote speaker.   For inspiration, check out their Facebook page. Tickets are $8 in advance, available at the WSC Information Desk, or $10 at the door.

For more information on the event, go to the David M. Kennedy Center for International Students at BYU's website.  For more information on Women of the World's programs, events, or speeches, visit us at womenofworld.org.[heading size="24" margin="40"]See the BYU Hunger Banquet Official Video[/heading]Hunger Banquet 2013 from Scott Raia on Vimeo.

Salt Lake City 2013 Dedication to Human Rights

Women of the World President Samira Harnish meeting with Mayor Ralph BeckerWomen of the World's founder and president, Samira Harnish, spoke tonight at the new Leonardo Museum in downtown Salt Lake City, during the program for the rededication of Salt Lake City's commitment to human rights.  Aside from Samira's speech, the program contained the dedication of Salt Lake City's commitment to Human Rights by Mayor Ralph Becker, the granting of two awards for Human Rights commitment including a group award to Utah Health and Human Rights and an individual award given posthumously to Civil Rights Attorney Brian Barnard.Samira's comments stuck with the presenters after her.  She called for Utah to embrace the human rights of its refugee women neighbors by "giving them a voice and being their friend."  This sentiment was echoed throughout the speeches and the award ceremony as each new speaker turned to the examples in their own work to improving the lives of the disenfranchised.  You can see a brief video snippet of her speech on the Women of the World Youtube channel.Prior to the event, Samira was interviewed on the radio program "Cultural Connections" where she and the rest of the panelists gave their thoughts on how human rights could impact their communities and the struggles they still need to overcome.  You can here this program by going to the Cultural Connections podcast for December 16, 2012.

Fashion Show Radio - KSL Cultural Connections

Women of the World was on the radio this weekend!  Cultural Connections with Nkoyo Iyamba interviewed the Refugee Fashion Show team including two of the models for this week's event for its program on Sunday, June 3, 2012.[gn_pullquote align="right"]As the refugee women walk the catwalk, think about the steps they took before the ones you are seeing -- running away from violence and oppression, scared, hoping just for a safe night's sleep. Think about what they left behind them, their comfortable job, house, and much of their family -- even sometimes their own sons and daughters. Their beauty comes not only from their features or clothing; but from an amazing courage to find a better life. Please take this opportunity to support this courage and elegance[/gn_pullquote]The questions focused on how Women of the World is helping improve the lives of women refugees in Utah and how the Refugee Fashion Show contributes to displaying the beauty and courage of its members.  The Refugee Fashion Show is this Friday, 8 June 2012 from 6-9pm at Pierpont Place (163 W Pierpont Ave in SLC). We hope you can all attend and show your support for an elegant refugee fashion show. Tickets are available for a minimum donation of $20 at www.womenofworld.org/2012fashionshow/Women of the World would like to thank KSL radio and Nkoyo Ivamba who was a terrific, gracious interviewer.  Click the below link to listen to the full program.

  KSL Cultural Connections

4:20 to 15:00 - Opening Discussion17:30 to 25:00 - Volunteers Discussion30:30 to 39:40 - Refugee Discussion43:00 to 50:20 - Final Thoughts

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.  

Cultural Connection KSL Radio Interview

Women of the World was on the radio this weekend!  Cultural Connections with Nkoyo Iyamba interviewed three members of the Women of the World team for its program on Sunday, March 4, 2012.The questions focused on the experiences of the women in their home countries and in Utah.  The women interviewed showed the terrific perseverance and courage common to our members, telling their stories of hardship and how they overcame these obstacles, and their desire to volunteer to help others accomplish their dreams.Women of the World would like to thank KSL radio and Nkoyo Ivamba who was a terrific, gracious interviewer.  Click the below link to listen to the full program.KSL Cultural Connections

Grant Awarded!

Tonight Women of the World was granted a cash award to continue its work in educating women refugee English language learners.  This grant was donated by theUWABC Grant Awardees - Women of the WorldUtah Women's Alliance for Building Communities and will be used to develop a tutoring curriculum for teaching English language learners the basics in conversational English -- the language skills that they need in the grocery store, in the hospital, and to improve the lives of themselves and their families.  Since Women of the World found one of its members unable to speak for herself when her landlord failed to fix the mold overtaking their apartment, we have been active in determining which language skills are essential for new immigrants and refugees to develop in order to build self-sufficiency -- we feel we have developed a good list in this regard.Women of the World was one of two grantees chosen from over 25 applicants.  All grantees and awardees are performing gracious works of service and Women of the World is fortunate to be amongst such helpful and caring company.  As founder Samira Harnish said in her acceptance speech, "with this grant, you have given women a voice to overcome their own struggles and I ensure you the first thank you letter is coming from a newly literate woman in the spring."  You can see Samira's entire speech on WoW TV.UWABC and Women of the World Presidents 

East High School and Westminster Student Workshop

Students and community service members
I represented the Women Of the World at the East High School and Westminster Student Workshop, it was great opportunity and an honor to meet everyone with outstanding talents and an interest in service for the community.  My speech on my experience and the mission of the Women Of the World touched many young students who want me to connect and assist their family. Teacher like Rebecca Richardson that offered their students such a wide curriculum and recruit community members to teach special skills in community service are developing our children in to compassionate leaders of tomorrow.  Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity.
[hr]
Below is the gracious e-mail from Rebecca Richardson that I received after speaking after the event.
From: Rebecca RichardsonDate: February 19, 2011 9:15:15 AM MSTTo: WoWSubject: Deep gratitude!Dear Samira,I don't think I can find the words to express my gratitude and thanks for yesterday. Your presentation was touching and inspiring. Even though I am not a refugee, your story of the haunting picture of the girl trapped in the spider web resonated with me. Through your words you showed how this young girl was able to untangle herself and do heroic acts like learn to ride a bike at age 40!!! What a gift your presentation was to my students and me.I am also so appreciative of the time you gave to working individually with the students. You took your beautiful energy, intellect and passion and shared it with those with whom you spoke. It is hard to imagine, but these brief encounters can be life altering for some.I love the direction you are working to take the Women of the World organization. I do a lot of work with refugee families and have seen many strong women direct the lives of their families and children in amazing ways. However, I have also seen them shaken and disregarded by the enormous system we have here in the U.S. While I am very busy during the school year, I would love to learn how I can support your organization during the summer.Once again, I send my deepest thanks for EVERYTHING you brought to the workshop yesterday. I left meeting you feeling like there are friends out there who share my desire to empower our sisters, mothers, daughters, that are being silenced.With great warmth and respect,Rebecca RichardsonEast High SchoolLanguage Arts Instructor

2011 Utah Refugee Conference - Panel on Refugee Community Successes and Challenges

On Friday morning, in front of 500 refugees, refugee community stakeholders, benefactors, and members of the press, Women of the World President Samira Harnish spoke on the successes and challenges of the Iraqi community in Utah and her vision for a future in which all refugee women are propelling their communities forward through improvements to women's health, socio-economical standing, and self-confidence.Samira's positive message for the refugee communities comes from her Utah-based work on behalf of the refugees from her native Iraq whom she's worked tirelessly for over the past three years.  She has seen them pick themselves up from the horrors of war to get educated, get employed, and use their off-time to serve the incoming Middle-Eastern refugees.  Iraqi refugees desire a quick integration into American society because of their high level of education and degree status coming from the Middle East and Samira has worked to ensure that the are quickly brought into contact with academic and business networks to enable their  success.Samira also addressed some of the challenges facing the Iraqi refugees and their social organizations.  Of primary concern is the unequal treatment tharefugee women are subjected to in startup service organizations.  The biases of the homeland are often shifted to the new country and for Iraqi's, strong female voices are pushed aside for the more comfortable, even if inadequate, leadership of men.  Women must rise to be more than secretaries, and service organizations must rise above being social clubs where only one gender feels a sense of unity if success is to be long-lasting and economically significant.

All refugees must learn that, for better or for worse, America is only the land of opportunity for those who are willing to help themselves. Samira recounted a story passed to her from her mother about the yogurt maids that, through humility and focus, carried 5 to 10 trays of yogurt on their heads. Women refugees are now equally burdened by the need to balance culture and progress, family and future on their heads and strive while remaining grounded in their heritage.

Samira Harnish would like to thank Joe Nahas for his invitation to speak on behalf of Iraqis in America and women refugees.  As his "Iron Lady," Samira promises to continue her steelyresolve in the face oppression of women everywhere.  Samira would also like to thank Gerald Brown and the rest of the Department of Workforce Services Refugee Service Organization.  Finally, a special thank you to all of the panelists and refugees in attendance and in service of one another.The full text of Samira's speeches are available at 2011 Utah Refugee Conference Panel Women Refugee Unique Needs