We want to thank our friends at Goldman Sachs for celebrating Women’s History Month by collecting much-needed in-kind donations to support our work and the refugees we serve. By the end of March, the group gathered nearly 1,800 items, including laundry detergent, dish soap, diapers, baby wipes, body soap, feminine pads and more.
The Goldman Sachs team kicked off the month-long donation drive by inviting Pamela Silberman, health program manager, and Kate Idzorek, Spice Kitchen Incubator program manager, to speak about the IRC and programming geared towards women’s empowerment. Pamela and Kate, members of the IRC in Salt Lake City’s Speakers Bureau, shared gender equality initiatives that the IRC strives to incorporate in all of our programming.
“[The] IRC as an organization worldwide has really put a huge focus on gender equality. What we do, is try to assess all of our programs for access—equal access for women and girls—and address barriers that may exist to that programming,” Pamela explained.
Pamela gave an overview of the IRC’s mission and facts about refugee resettlement in the U.S. She also highlighted critical programming provided to refugees and New Americans in Salt Lake City, including our Bridge to Safety initiative, a program designed to screen for and provide assistance and resources to women affected by gender-based violence or sexual assault.
“We do safety planning with [women] to determine what level of danger they may be in.” Pamela also explained that the program not only provides protection for women, but also prevention education by working with men and boys. “We have to end the cycle of violence, and we have to work with men and boys to understand and recognize harmful gender norms.”
Kate gave an overview of the Spice Kitchen Incubator—a program of the IRC in Salt Lake City that provides tools and resources for aspiring food business entrepreneurs.
“Many refugees come to the U.S. having owned or operated a food business in other countries,” Kate explains. “The U.S. is very difficult to start a legal, successful food business. The rules and regulations are very difficult, there are a lot of obstacles, there is a very high cost of entry. What we do is try to assist individuals to overcome these barriers.” As with other programming at the IRC in Salt Lake City, Spice Kitchen aims to promote gender equality—of the 50 current participants, over 60% are women.
Pamela and Kate both emphasized the importance of standing with refugees and welcoming them into our community.
Of the Spice Kitchen Incubator and its entrepreneurs, Kate comments, “they’re bringing all of these traditions to Salt Lake. We provide the opportunity to get to know your neighbors.”
Pamela comments on refugee resettlement, “It really adds so much to our country and that is something we want to continue to lead out on around the world as a beacon of hope. The IRC really believes this, we embrace this, refugees are always welcome. Our goal is to prepare refugees for a successful life here in Utah and the United States.”
Goldman Sachs employees showed their commitment to stand with refugees by ending their month-long celebration by dropping off over 1,800 much needed items—including shampoo and conditioner, soap, laundry detergent and feminine pads—to the IRC office. These items continue to be distributed to recently arrived refugee families in Salt Lake City.
Want to learn more about the IRC in Salt Lake City? Invite a member of our Speakers Bureau to present at your next event. Visit Rescue.org/SpeakerSLC for more information.