from Abuse to Economic and Social Empowerment

. . . a panel presentation at the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women

Women have an enormous capacity to inspire and encourage other women to empower themselves economically and socially—and to speak out for justice. To showcase this belief, five of us are off to the United Nations in March to give a presentation on how refugee-run organizations help empower other refugees economically and socially! The panelists will present personal stories of survival and transformation—from harm to home—to show how they have built new lives that, in turn, inspire others.

Sponsored by the Women’s Museum of California, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and several refugee organizations, the panel is scheduled to be presented during the annual session of the U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61). Funding for participants has been provided by the WILPF!

A recent exhibit at the Women’s Museum of California, “Tears of War: the Many Faces of Refugee Women,” showcased the harrowing stories of refugee women from fourteen countries. Two of these women and two other women were selected to share their stories during CSW61. These panelists have worked with other refugee or indigenous women through the creation of programs to bring these women out of poverty or human trafficking, advance them educationally and economically, train or direct them occupationally, prevent gender-based violence, and promote their equality. Other programs created by the panelists center on addressing concerns related to all facets of health (e.g., PTSD), their children’s well-being, and culture-related traditions.

The panelists include:

  • Dilkhwaz Ahmed, an Iraqi who was granted asylum and subsequently became Executive Director of License to Freedom, creates and implements programs to help the Iraqi refugee community of San Diego and travels to Iraq to counsel persecuted Yazidis.
  • Carmen Kcomt, a former Peruvian Attorney and Judge and asylum grantee, serves as a legal advocate at La Maestra, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides a wide range of human services for refugees and immigrants in central San Diego.
  • Susan Hagos, a Health Advocacy Coordinator at Nile Sisters Development Initiative, describes the work of NSDI as well as the life of its founder.
  • Trish Martinez, a Native American, develops and presents training programs to be implemented in the indigenous community of nineteen tribal nations in the San Diego region.

Panel Moderator:

  • Anne Hoiberg, a retired Research Psychologist, curated the exhibit, “Tears of War: The Many Faces of Refugee Women,” at the Women’s Museum of California, which served as the catalyst for organizing the panel to be presented at CSW61 and for subsequent “Talk-backs from the United Nations.”

Anne Hoiberg, Women’s Museum of California Board Member
Please join the panelists and moderator for the first “Talk-back,” which is scheduled for March 27, 6:00 P.M., at the Women’s Museum of California.
Help fund the panelists travel to the UN by donating here