Grant Award Funds Women’s Programs
The International Rescue Committee in Tucson has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona to help support refugee women’s employment training, mental health, and well-being promotion programs. The grant, which brings total Foundation support of the IRC in Tucson’s refugee women’s programs to $50,000 since 2010, was announced at the Foundation’s annual luncheon held on April 18 at the Tucson Convention Center.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona for their continued support of refugee women in our community,” said Aaron Grigg, interim executive director of the IRC in Tucson. “This grant supports evidenced-based programs that have empowered refugee women, many of whom have suffered unthinkable abuse and hardship before arriving here in the United States, and given them the tools and resources to be self-sufficient, confident and contributing members of our society.”
Of the approximately 800 refugees who arrive in Tucson each year from countries including Bhutan, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea, more than half are women and girls. Many carry the emotional scars related to the traumatic events of war including torture, rape, kidnapping, and witnessing murder. Many lack formal education and English language skills, compounding the difficulties of transition to life in a new country and new culture. The IRC in Tucson has a range of highly effective programs and services to address the many complex and unique needs that refugee women face. From mental health support groups, counseling, intensive job training, social services and case management, to the Well-Being Promotion program, which engages successfully adjusted refugee women who serve as peer mentors to support new refugee women adjust to life in Tucson, refugee women are supported each step of the way.
“The Women’s Foundation is proud to partner with the International Rescue Committee in Tucson to help refugee women and their children acculturate to our society,” said Laura Penny, executive director of the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona. “We know that when women thrive, the whole community benefits.”
Chandra Sangroula lived in a refugee camp in Nepal for many years after fleeing her home country of Bhutan at age 13. Today, she works as a well-being promoter for the IRC, visiting each newly-arrived refugee woman over the course of the year to teach her about hygiene, home and public safety, financial literacy, the education and health systems, and much more. “Through the well-being promotion program, women are able to meet someone like me who speaks their language and helps them to more quickly understand how to navigate the system and complete day-to-day tasks,” Sangroula said. “When I first arrived in Tucson and was greeted by a well-being promoter who spoke my language, I was happy – it was like seeing an old friend in this new and different land.”