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Modeling Our World – 2017 Women of the World Fashion Show

Updated: Sep 23, 2021


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MARCH, 2017 Women of the World Fashion Show

The 2017 Women of the World Fashion Show strove to model the world we desire: women from all nations showing off the uniqueness of their culture surrounded by the loving support of a community. The healing of this event is apparent as I look through the photos and enjoy the comments on social media.When I named Women of the World, I wanted to make a statement about my sisters that share in giving care and building community.


I wanted to show that our diversity was the key to Utah achieving its potential.


The name Women of the World suggests a partnership of refugee women taking control of their lives with the help of those who know that “women’s rights are human rights.” We care for one another because we are all sisters and we remain positive because we know we must set the example if we are to nurture our society.


Women of the World believes that to care about refugees is to recognize divinity in the eyes of the most vulnerable – to engage instead of looking away.


The last 7 years, we have been privileged to work with the wonderful, courageous, hard-working, compassionate, caring, smart, and beautiful women that give our community resilience.


“Women of the World believes that to care about refugees is to recognize divinity in the eyes of the most vulnerable – to engage instead of looking away.”

We serve women from Syria, Iran, Congo, Central African, Burma, Nepal, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan. We have trained Utahns from the age of 14 to the age of 80 to mentor and extend a hand to refugees.


We have seen friendships grow, making Utah a place where there are fewer strangers and more neighbors. Our ladies — from all over the world –are paying forward our lessons in their home countries.


Women of the World is a boutique service and capacity building organization. Our ladies have custom needs. They need a caring professional to help them over one last hurdle, to get them a stable job, or to help them fill out their first application to college.

Most of you can reach out to your family if you need a hand, Women of the World is that family for our ladies.


By popular demand, WoW is publishing the introductions of the models, their hopes and aspirations, and the fashions that distinguish their heritage. As you read through these brief introductions, I think you will see why Women of the World is so proud of both these women and the Salt Lake City community that has welcomed them, creating a model world.

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Faeiza Javed (left) is from Pakistan. Faeiza received both her bachelor’s (2013) and master’s (2014) degree in social work from the University of Utah. Faeiza is a social worker and mental health therapist. Most of her work has focused on individuals who are suffering from depression, anxiety, grief and loss, and PTSD. She hopes to one day become a leading voice for mental health in the Muslim and refugee communities.

Nora Abu-Dan is a former reigning Miss United Nations USA 2014. Nora represented her beautiful land and people of Palestine in the Pageant and has worked at great lengths to bring awareness and educate people about her motherland. Her platform was “Fight for your right! You have a voice, let it be heard.” Nora graduated with her degree in Economics and a minor in Spanish in 2015; thereafter, she attended the S.J. Quinney College of Law where she completed her first year of Law School.

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Taiba is wearing a traditional dress from Iraq. Women in central and southern Iraq wear this dress to social events and parties. Taiba studied electrical engineering in school and is now thinking of getting her master’s degree. She wants to become an excellent engineer and knows she has the talent to accomplish this dream.


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Mouneesha from India studied biotechnology and is now considering doing a PhD in cancer research. She is wearing Lehenga Choli which is a traditional Indian wear for women. It is a two part garment, the lower one is called the Lehenga and the top one is called the Choli. The third and the very important part of this dress is the Dupatta. The Dupatta is a shawl or large scarf that is worn together with the Lehenga and the Choli. She won Miss Asia Utah this year.

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Saima is wearing a beautiful traditional dress from Pakistan. This dress is usually worn at weddings or at events that celebrate the end of the fasting month. Saima has two definite goals to make sure her son gets a great education and to bring her mother, who is currently in Pakistan, to Utah.

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Saida is wearing a traditional Somali dress called Guntiino. Women generally wear a guntiino for day-to-day activities. In the future Saida would love to become a journalist as spreading news and stories are one of her favorite passions. She hopes to travel the world to continue this work.

Saida on the Women of the World Refugee Podcast.

Read Saida’s poem read at the Women’s March.


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Halima from Somalia is wearing a Dirac which is a traditional dress worn by Somali women, mostly sported during special events such as weddings, or religious celebrations like Eid, as well as family gatherings.


“Growing up in as an underrepresented individual in my community I decided I wanted my future to focus on bringing representation to those who are underrepresented like me. I’m aspiring to be a Public Health Educator. I want to be a positive image for young African American Muslim girls to look up to and understand that their goals in life are as achievable and well worth the effort put into achieving.”


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Asma Ali Dahir is wearing a traditional Somali dress called Dirac (De-rah). She is attending Cottonwood High School and is enrolled in the Surgical Technology program at Salt Lake Community College. She wants to major in Neuroscience at Westminster College, where she has been accepted. Her aspiration in life is to become a pediatric surgeon and open a practice in her home country and other underdeveloped countries.

Anisa Dahir is her twin sister and is also studying to enter the medical field.

See KUTV’s “Inside the Story” profile of these amazing twin sisters.

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Ludovica, Miss UN USA, is wearing a traditional costume from her home country Italy. This costume originates in Venice and it is most commonly used for the ancient Venitian Carnival that is held every year. The gown takes inspiration from the renaissance years and its embroider is typical of the royalty women outerwear in ancient northern Italy. The costume was hand made by an Italian American designer, and the colors yellow and royal blue were inspired by the colors of Ludovica’s non profit Ludonation. This traditional dress honors her mother’s last name which comes from Venice and Florence and the beautiful carnival culture of Italy.



View all of the photos on our Smugmug page

View the live stream of the 2017 fashion show.

See KSL’s feature on the 2017 Fashion Show


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