Syrian Community Network: Women's Empowerment

This past Sunday, we sent out the call and it was answered.

On a beautiful afternoon that heralded the coming of spring, Syrian Community Network gathered women from various backgrounds to reaffirm the bonds of sisterhood. And just as spring brings signs of renewal, and new beginnings, our hope was that this event would lay the foundations for such a change in the lives of our refugee women.

From its inception, the event had girl power written all over it. Whether it was the advice on goal attainment given by our event sponsor Dilnaz Waraich, to the introduction by our own Executive Director, Suzanne Akhras Sahloul, which she dedicated to her mother, the theme of the day was women’s empowerment. Breaking from the norm of a traditional luncheon, each woman was asked to change her seat and participate in a roundtable discussion that highlighted some of her own personal achievements. Despite the differences in their background or circumstances, many of the women found themselves united by common struggles, and triumphs, that all women face. This interactive meeting of the minds ended with a human chain that encircled the entire room — women from all walks of life linked arm in arm, their voices speaking in unison, “As women we form a strong link of sisterhood. We are always here to listen and lean into each other, always elevating one another to be the best that we can be!”

But, the main focus of the event was to empower our refugee sisters, as well as give them an opportunity to showcase their passions and talents. Some of the women took to the stage to tell their own story, in their own words. They gave voice to the countless women that have gone, and are still going through, many of the same struggles. Also, with the launch of Syrian Delights (syriandelights@syriancommunitynetwork.org), many of the women sold goods that they had prepared specifically for the day’s event. Attendees clamored to get their hands on the limited numbers of various boxes of sweets, while others purchased dresses that had been handmade to enchant the prettiest of young princesses. It was women supporting other women — by just listening to each other speak, by supporting others’ entrepreneurial spirit, or by even just extending a hand in welcome.

Syrian Community Network