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    Encouraging Women to Power

    DAY 61

    Space to Grow

    Changemakers 365 has been doing the doable in Minnesota for the last couple of weeks, and it’s been amazing. We’ve met and gotten to know and support so many new neighbors and amazing organizations doing incredible work with refugee communities, we’re so excited about the new connections and relationships we’ve made. One of those connections is with Women Organizing Women Network or WOW.

    WOW’s mission is to empower all women, specifically first– and second-generation immigrants, to become engaged citizens and community leaders, regardless of political affiliation. We know the founder of WOW very well – Habon Daud was a member of the Somali Community Council that co-launched with ARC our I AM A STAR humanitarian relief program in Somalia. A few weeks ago she came in to tell us about WOW’s work and see if we knew of any place they could find an office. In order to create space for women to step into leadership, WOW needed some office space of their own.

    We were happy we could help, and on Day 61 we cleaned out and fixed up a currently vacant ARC office for the WOW team to use for the next 6 months.

    WOW’s most recent success has been in helping Ilhan Omar be elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives for District 60B – Ilhan is the first Somali-American, Muslim woman in the nation to hold an office at this level. “We’ve been after Ilhan to run for awhile,” said Habon. “She was finally ready this time and she’s been brilliant. She’s really raised the bar and we’re like ‘uh-oh, what do we do next.’ ”

    Habon grew up in Somalia and ran for her first office in Italy. strong>”Growing up with brothers, we always heard from our parents that we needed to give double – 200% – to prove to everyone we were just as good or better,” recalled Habon. That’s a daunting prospect for women trying to balance everything in life – so Habon and WOW are working to reassure them. “I know what it is to win a campaign,” said Habon, “there are so many brilliant women who want to run. We’re there to support them and tell them ‘No, you’re good as you are. Let’s do this.’ ”

    It’s inspiring work that the WOW team is doing, and ARC is happy to support them in their mission. Before, they didn’t have an office where the main WOW team could all work – now they do. It didn’t take much. Our team just cleaned out a vacant office space, and moved in some plants and a lamp and set the WOW team up with an ARC computer, printer, parking passes and key fobs to get into our building. And then we held a little reception in ARC’s lunchroom to welcome WOW and introduce them to the ARC team.

    This little space will give WOW the opportunity to grow – they’ll be able to pursue foundations for which a site visit is a requirement for funding. And they’ll be able to reach out to more amazing women who want to make a difference and hold positions of power in their community and the world.

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    Changemakers 365

    by Alight


    The world’s tough problems can seem insurmountable. So at Alight, while we tackle those big problems we also do what’s doable. Right then. And that’s what Changemakers 365 is all about. Learn more!


    Changemakers 365 members give either $30 per month or a one-time gift of $365 (it’s free for anyone who has ever lived in a refugee camp). Join us!

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