Today is International Women’s Day—a day to celebrate women’s contributions to society. For over two decades, ReWA has held in-person celebrations on March 8, bringing together our staff, students, clients, and community supporters—women, men, non-binary persons—to eat, drink, dance, sing and laugh. But because of the pandemic, we are sharing stories virtually today.
Over the past two years, we adjusted to this new way of being. For some it means working from home, but for many others they worked tirelessly on the front lines: in transportation, food production, and healthcare. Through it all, ReWA has been here to help immigrants and refugees stay connected to resources, education and community.
By reading this, you too, are part of the ReWA community. Please share these stories of hope, hard work, joy, and above all, perseverance. And we hope to greet you at next year’s IWD celebration — in person!
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- YANA: Compassion and service in actionReWA recently lost a treasured staff member: Yana Morozova. For more than three years, Yana helped hundreds of women, men, and their families find housing and apply for green cards. For immigrants and refugees without rental or credit history, to say this would be challenging would be an understatement. Before Covid, Yana could often be […]
- GULALEI: A teacher for generations of childrenIn the 1980s, an Afghan woman named Gulalei Beena and her husband fled the civil war. When her husband died suddenly, she was left with four children to support while living as refugees in Pakistan. Too often the children of uneducated women have to survive on the streets. Their lives are short. But Gulalei had […]
- SUSAN: Judging from the benchSusan Amini has always loved the Law. “I used to watch Perry Mason [a legal tv show] when I was growing up in Iran. I loved the drama of collecting evidence and seeing the U.S. jury system.” At Tehran University, Susan studied law and political science and graduated just after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. […]
- HAMDI: From ReWA to City HallGrowing up in the Puget Sound, Hamdi Mohamed’s parents both worked in transportation. Her father was a truck driver and her mother worked at SeaTac airport where she was part of a community of workers —airplane cabin cleaners, wheelchair pushers, and baggage handlers. Together, they kept thousands of people moving each day. After graduating from […]
- RIVA: A guide on the path to citizenship“I remember how nervous I was when I took my citizenship exam four years ago.” Although Riva is a native English speaker with a successful career in business, she remembers feeling trepidation on the day of the test. “The process of driving to the USCIS office, of walking inside, and meeting with the citizenship officer—it […]
- SETARA: The student-pilot persistedEver since she was 12 years old, growing up in rural Afghanistan, Setara knew she wanted to be a military pilot. “In my family, girls didn’t go to higher education. But when I was 16 years old, I told my father I wanted to go to university and join the military.” Her family didn’t have […]
- ZAHRA: Fearless community outreach workerZahra’s quiet, soft-spoken demeanor belies a woman who is not afraid to take risks to help others. Zahra came from a small family, north of Kabul. After completing her education, she spent seven years with the UNICEF team working to eradicate polio in Afghanistan. “For seven years, I went door to door, talking to parents […]
- RAHILA: A journalist fighting for her countryRahila is an expert at interviewing: as a journalist for five years, she got paid to ask questions. Also, she has a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Bucharest in Romania. As the host of a radio program for NATO in Afghanistan, she would often interview experts about health issues—mainly how to […]
- AYSE: Her love of science leads to nursingWhen Ayse (pronounced, Ah-eesha) was 17 she had a beautiful life in Turkey. A typical teenage girl, she loved playing volleyball and hanging out with her friends. But then her father won the Diversity Visa Lottery (aka, Green Card lottery) to come to the U.S. “To be honest, I wasn’t happy about leaving Turkey.” But […]
- RAMINA: From refugee to law partnerYears before Ramina Dehkhoda-Steele served on ReWA’s board— before she attended University of Washington at age 14, before she finished law school at 20—she was a refugee child who spoke no English. Ramina’s parents were political refugees from the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. They went from Turkey to Germany to Los Angeles, before moving […]
- AMAL: Poet of love and lossEleven years ago, Amal was living a dream in Damascus. She had just married her sweetheart and they were expecting their first child. Amal said she has been writing poetry since she was 8 years old. When she was young she had notebooks full of her careful, hand-written script. Then, in March 2011, after weeks […]
Images from past International Women’s Day Celebrations at ReWA.