March is Women’s History month. As Women Encouraging Empowerment (WEE) marks this month, I am reminded of the courage, the commitment and the never ending support of the women I meet every day. The women I work with are all from Immigrant families and work tirelessly to advance the mission of WEE; to empower immigrant and refugee women.
Immigrant women, often working two to three jobs a day to provide for their families, are among the most vulnerable in our society. Working many hours in factories, homes, supermarkets, restaurants, many immigrant women just barely make it on the economic ladder. They are often discriminated against and are targets of sexual violence in the workplace.
Many undocumented immigrant women are locked in a continuous state of isolation and fear. They fear reporting any abuses they encounter because they fear they will lose everything they have worked hard for and or worse, they will face deportation and separation from their families. Learning English is just but the beginning and it takes courage to take that step.
The Affordable Care Act excludes undocumented immigrants from coverage. Many undocumented immigrants therefore have no access to decent health care. This means that hard-working immigrants are locked out from the same affordable health care programs they support through their taxes.
The women I meet here at WEE give their time tirelessly to provide support to immigrant women through teaching ESOL, facilitating community dialogue about these challenges that affect women, organizing workshops and helping women strategize for action.
As we celebrate women of character, courage and commitment this Women’s History Month, let us remember the many faceless, voiceless immigrant women who sacrifice for their families and this country every day. As well as the uncelebrated leaders who challenge the system and provide support to immigrant women to become leaders and champion their cause. - Jackie Okanga
Hi, recently, I found out my twin nieces were having trouble in their French class. From what I understand, their introduction to French was less than stellar and their lack of interest in learning it is even more alarming. As an ESOL instructor, I strive to provide an exciting and engaging classroom experience. Since I have no knowledge of French and I can't be in their classroom to help, I thought I'd bring the girls into my classroom. So, I asked one of my French speaking students to help the girls last Friday and here is what one of them had to say about their experience:
"My experience at WEE was good. I came to learn French with Zoubida. She is a student in my aunt's Level 2 ESOL class. She is from Morocco and she speaks Arabic and French. She taught me the alphabet, days of the week, and family label names. She taught me the alphabet because the English alphabet is different sounding than from the French. She was nice and she taught good. I will see her again next Thursday to learn more French." - Melena
And on that note, have a good day!
On February 9, 2014, WEE staff members attended a "Training of the Facilitators on Domestic Violence" workshop. With support from Boston College's Migration and Human Rights Project, WEE, EFA(English for Action), and CES(Casa El Salvador) were participants of this training.
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