An equal world is an enabled world. This month we are celebrating International Women’s Day #IWD2020 by highlighting the achievements of refugee women and RefugePoint staff, and increasing visibility about the issues and inequalities they face.
Helping Refugee Women on their Journey to Self-Reliance
Helping refugees to become self-reliant, so that they can meet their own essential needs, is a crucial aspect of our work. RefugePoint’s holistic approach to self-reliance helps many refugee women to rebuild their lives. We first help to stabilize refugee women through social work services, counseling, food and rent support, education assistance, and medical services. Once stabilized, we connect refugee women to opportunities for vocational training, business training, and small business grants. These opportunities help women to pay rent, buy food, send their children to school or childcare, and set aside savings.
Learn more about how RefugePoint staff are working to create a more gender-equal world:
Name: Belinda Muya
Title: Livelihoods Manager (Urban Refugee Protection Program, Nairobi, Kenya)
“I uplift women to believe in themselves, to be bold as they take on the role of a provider that once lay with their fathers, brothers, and husbands. I want them to become the best they can be, despite the unfortunate circumstances they have found themselves in.
Many of the refugee women I work with have endured tremendous anguish as they fled from violence and persecution. They then find themselves in a foreign land with their male partners wounded or gone. Many of the women that I work with are young. Many were farmers or caregivers in their home countries, leaving them unprepared to fill the provider role forced upon them in the harsh economic environment of Nairobi. I work with these women to rebuild their lives by building skills and helping them find safe and practical ways to earn a living and provide for their families.”
Name: Clotilda Kiriongi
Title: Senior Counseling Officer (Urban Refugee Protection Program, Nairobi, Kenya)
Women and girl refugees often face an increased risk of physical abuse, exploitation, and assault. Given these heightened risks, we prioritize women and girls in all of our work, including counseling support and therapy groups for women.
Clotilda, our Senior Counseling Officer, explains the importance of providing counseling services to refugees and how this empowers women to rebuild their lives.
“Counseling speaks into the needs of refugee women, giving them the strength to identify what they need to do and the courage to change their current thought patterns and beliefs. It helps refugee women to develop a deeper self-understanding of their strengths and weaknesses as they become more empowered in society.
Counseling creates a safe environment for women to support each other in therapy and support groups. It is within these small circles and spaces that they speak about issues that affect them individually as women. It is in these warm and safe spaces that they renew their hope as they listen and encourage each other. It also brings about a mind shift in refugee women. They become more assertive each day and are able to experience independent thinking and some autonomy in life.”
Name: Anja Calise
Title: Office Manager and Executive Assistant (Cambridge, MA, RefugePoint HQ)
“I have been listening to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s audiobooks, and I learn about my old habits by educating myself and surrounding myself with resources and people that touch on these issues. I especially like reading from a perspective that’s entirely different from my own!”