On 10 May, the mobile version of the Salt Lake City Tribune published a nice article about Women of the World’s Mother’s Day celebration.
“We have 25,000 refugees here in Utah and 98 percent of them live in Salt Lake,” Harnish said. “It was my dream to help women in the Middle East, but I realized that there is just as great of a need to help women here, too.”According to the Refugee Services office of the Utah Department of Workforce Services, women and girls represent 47 percent of refugee and asylum-seekers, while 44 percent are children under 18.Of those seeking asylum, four out of five chosen are women and children. Yet, though women and children represent the vast majority, most resources are used to help men, placing them in jobs and assisting with assimilation. For every dollar of development assistance, only 2 cents goes to women.Harnish describes the situation of new female refugees as disorienting and, often, demeaning.”Women lose their power when they can’t understand what is going on around them, either because of language barriers or culture,” she said. ‘They feel powerless and lack confidence.”Through Women of the World, refugees are taught empowerment, through English lessons, weekly meetings and a support network. Along with the daily work, the organization tries to find time for celebration, holding an annual fashion show and, in the case of Mother’s Day, having a potluck in the park. In past years, more than 150 women and children attended the event.