I am Shakiba, and I am a resilient woman because... 

I am Shakiba, I came to the USA in 2016 from Afghanistan.

How long have you been living in this area? Please share with us about your journey coming here. I moved to the USA in 2016, so I have been here for 3 years. I was working at a US company in Afghanistan as an engineer. Back home, women do not do these types of jobs. A group of Taliban wanted me to not work there anymore since I was a woman, and I am supposed to stay home and take care of the children. I did not give up and continued to work there. But then I came to the USA for a conference, and while I was here I was targeted back in my home country. The people that targeted me told me that they would kill me if I go back home. I decided to stay here for the safety of myself and my family. Then I was in a detention center for 3 months and applied for asylum and got it without a lawyer.  After 8 months, I was finally able to call my family and tell them I am safe.

As you know, we are doing a feature series about resilient women. What type of challenges in your life contributed to you becoming a resilient woman? The challenges that contributed to me becoming a resilient woman is when I was alone here in the USA with none of my family. Living in a detention center. Leaving my 2-month baby that I was breastfeeding, and I wasn’t able to see my family. That made me stronger. Whenever I was sad, I kept telling myself that I am strong, and I can do this. I had to be stronger for myself and my family back home.

What do you love most about Mother Africa? What motivates you to be a part of Mother Africa events and activities? Mother Africa works with women. When I was back home, I spent 10 years doing social work with women. Mother Africa also does the same thing, so I like that a lot.

What is your hope for the future of Mother Africa, yourself and your fellow resilient women? In February this year I also started working as a screener for the new Flourishing Resilient Children (F&RC) Program with Mother Africa for the Afghanistan families. We do early childhood developmental screening to help the parents see how their children are doing with different milestones depending on their age, so that we can support their growth. Our community is very happy with this program. I hope to continue to work with Mother Afric, and I am happy that they are working with our Afghani women too. We have no other organization working with us like this.  Whenever I am at Mother Africa, I am very happy.

Interview conducted by Mother Africa Program Assistant, Florette Ebengho 

I am Petronella and I am a resilient woman because..

My name is Petronella I have been an activist/advocate for women and children who face violence since I was in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I ran my own organization there.

How long have you been living in this area? Please share with us about your journey coming here. I have been living in Washington state for 7 months. I moved to the US because I couldn’t express myself anymore in my home country Congo. I was targeted because I was fighting against violence against women and children. The fear of being targeted brought me to the US as an asylee.

What type of challenges in your life contributed to you becoming a resilient woman?  Because of the war in the Congo, I became a resilient woman because I saw women and children being sexually assaulted by military members. This is something that no one should have to experience. It motivated me to work hard and that’s why I have a nonprofit back home that continues to fight against all the violence that women and children face. And living in the US too makes me resilient. I am alone here, I came without any family members. I discovered nonprofits that support women, including Mother Africa, that continues to help me when I need assistance, since I am still homeless (living in someone else's apartment).

What do you love most about Mother Africa? What motivates you to be a part of Mother Africa events and activities? When I discovered Mother Africa with Risho’s help, I felt better felt safe and welcomed. I felt like home. This is home. When you are alone and you don’t know anyone, attending events with other African women like the ones they have at Mother Africa, that makes you realize that you are not alone.

What is your hope for the future of Mother Africa, yourself and your fellow resilient women? Mother Africa works with women the same as I also work with women back home, so I would like to get more involved with Mother Africa. I hope that Mother Africa continues to get more funding in order to help this diverse community, so they can continue making other women also feel welcomed and at home.

Interview conducted and translated from French by Mother Africa Program Assistant, Florette Ebengho 

Developmental Screening and Referral Pilot Project

We are proud to be a Best Starts for Kids grant recipient, and to partner with First Five Years & Beyond on early childhood developmental screenings to benefit our community!

The findings from these year-long pilot projects will inform the King County Universal Developmental Screening Strategic Plan and implementation of future universal developmental screening and referral strategies. Other grantees include Bella’s Creative Learning Center, Childhaven, CISC, HopeCentral - Pediatrics and Behavioral Health, Open Doors for Multicultural Families, Somali Health Board, United Indians of All Tribes Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center and Voices Of Tomorrow.

Best Starts for Kids builds on the strengths of communities and families so that more babies are born healthy, more children thrive and establish a strong foundation for life, and more young people grow into thriving members of their community.

Uber Community Impact Initiative - Mother Africa Selected

Program will support increased economic opportunity and overcoming transportation mobility barriers

KENT (November 7, 2017) — Today it was announced that Mother Africa was selected to participate in the Uber PNW Community Impact Initiative.

“This grant will have a huge impact in our community. We are extremely excited about it.’ –Risho Sapano, Mother Africa’s Executive Director

Uber is partnering with Mother Africa to support increased economic empowerment through providing scholarships to driving school, and Uber ride credits to reduce transportation mobility barriers.

“In the communities where we do business, we  use our technology and resources to support organizations that are making meaningful, positive impact,” said Brooke Steger, General Manager for Uber in the Pacific Northwest. “Mother Africa is one of those organizations, so we’re proud to be supporting their great work.”

Each year, Uber teams up with nonprofits, social enterprises, and educational institutions across the region to support social, economic, and environmental causes that align with one or more impact areas: mobility, opportunity, safety, and efficiency.

Mother Africa is just one of 40+ local organizations that was selected to participate. For 2018, programmatic and philanthropic contributions in the PNW will total more than $500,000.

Other organizations interested in participating in the Community Impact Initiative can learn more at http://t.uber.com/CII.