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

Posted at 9:36 AM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 11:36:12-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Adjusting to a new life in America can be challenging for refugees, especially women.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many refugee women lost their jobs, particularly in the retail, hospitality and manufacturing industries. The problem was worsened when some refugee services were forced to close.

One organization, Women of the World, managed to stay open and has continued offering its services for refugee women during the pandemic.

Women of the World helps women fill out job applications, prepare for job interviews and apply for unemployment benefits It also helps them with rental assistance.

“They face a double disadvantage. They face barriers to economic inclusion as women and also as a refugee,” said Samira Harnish, founder and executive director of Women of the World.

Zohra Sulaimany, a refugee from Afghanistan, received assistance in paying for information technology training, which is helping her to find full-time employment.

“I was able to pass those exams and get my certificate. It was really a great achievement for me, I feel. I have those papers now,” Sulaimany said.

Every year, the group organizes a fashion show to raise money for programs and scholarships This year’s fashion show, themed “Rise Up,” will be held in a virtual setting on March 10.

It’s a chance for them to show how far they’ve come, and how they’ve embraced their new home. Click here for details.