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Local nonprofit educates immigrants, refugees, asylum-seeking women on COVID-19 vaccine

Posted at 5:01 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 20:05:44-04

SOUTH SALT LAKE -- As you walk into the nonprofit Women of the World in South Salt Lake, you are greeted with dozens of photos of women of all different ethnicities from different cultures around the globe.

The organization aims to help women who have been forcibly replaced, such as refugees, immigrants and asylees find success in Utah, the founder and executive director of Women of the World said.

“This was my dream when I was a kid in Iraq. I thought always, 'I am going to help one day,'” Samira Harnish said.

For the past decade, Harnish and now staff members have helped empower women. They help the women overcome obstacles and find success. The nonprofit helps forcibly-displaced women with things such as finding jobs, signing up for government food and housing assistance, and learning English. The nonprofit helps about 1,000 women each year.

READ: Utah nonprofit helping refugee women at 'double disadvantage' during pandemic

“She helped me a lot,” Safa Hassan, who came to the United States from Sudan, said of Harnish.

Right now, staff members are working to help educate the women about the COVID-19 vaccine. There has been a lot of misinformation among the refugee and immigrant communities, Harnish said.

“They bring me stories like, they heard from their friend or their country -- 'Don’t take the vaccine because it is new,'" she said. "No one knows about it. People die from it."

Harnish worked with the Utah Department of Health to create a video of her getting vaccinated in an effort to dispel some of the myths.

Fatime Ali, who is originally from Chad, said she was nervous to get the COVID-19 vaccine before talking with staff at Women of the World.

“Before people talk about the vaccine. They said it is not good. Now my friend take it, she is healthy,” she said.

Staff members are helping to register the woman for vaccine appointments and ensure they have transportation to get there.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine and how to register in Utah, click here.

For more information on Women of the World, click here.