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Monday, November 19, 2018

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Empowering Refugees take initiative to help women everywhere


Christi Rose, Katherine Morton, Kimberlee Marshall and Theresa Chrisman continue to strive for $200 in donations to help mothers in need. | Photo by Marissa Persaud.

Christi Rose, Katherine Morton, Kimberlee Marshall and Theresa Chrisman continue to strive for $200 in donations to help mothers in need. | Marissa Persaud/ The Cougar

Cougars who want to get ready for winter and simultaneously help women support their families can visit the Student Center Satellite on Thursday from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Empowering Refugees is a group made of students of a global justice course in the Graduate College of Social Work that collaborates with Houston’s Refugee Project. They will sell boot cuffs, scarves, wrap bracelets and ornaments — all made by women and single mothers from countries including Burma, Nepal, Bhutan and Thailand.

The Refugee Project is led by Taylor Handfelt, a Houstonian whose ultimate goal is to help single mothers support their families. Typically these families have three to four children and depend on this project as their main source of income.

“We started this project in September as part of our course,” social work graduate Theresa Chrisman said. “I think it is so cool that we can help supply these women with supplies they need to raise their children.”

Empowering Refugees is trying to raise money to help buy supplies for these women to make and sell crafts. Their goal is to raise $200 for The Refugee Project. As of Tuesday, the group had raised $40.

“My favorite part was being able to meet these women,” social work graduate Christi Rose said. “I enjoyed talking with them and seeing where they come from. I was able to appreciate that my problems are not as big.”

These women are taught how to make crafts from an art business class that is provided by The Refugee Project. Rose said that these women know how to make just about anything, even dish scrubbers.

“We are bringing awareness to UH that there’s a large group of these women in our community,” political social work graduate Katherine Morton said. “I think it’s so important.”

There are around 50,000 of women who are from other countries and trying to raise their families in Houston. Morton said about 180 of them are part of The Refugee Project and women join this project by word-of-mouth.

“I would like to see Houston welcome these women with open arms and support them in their business so they can support their family,” Chrisman said.

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