About Women’s Empowerment Group Program (WEG)

Before coming to the United States, refugees have often experienced traumatic, life-threatening events. War, violence, or significant persecution has caused them to leave everything they know and love. For refugee women, the adjustment to a new country can be exceptionally challenging and difficult, making them susceptible to isolation, loneliness, and depression.

Initiated in 2016, IMGH’s Women’s Empowerment Group (WEG) program focuses on supporting refugee women in their successful transition to new lives in the US. WEG is designed to prevent isolation, build community, and equip women with the information and skills they need to thrive. The program has evolved to address the diverse needs of Arabic, Afghan Pashtu and Dari, and Spanish speaking women.

The WEG Program: Fostering Empowerment Through Community Building, Education, and Advocacy

The WEG Program focuses on addressing key areas that are integral to the holistic development of refugee women who have faced displacement and challenges. The program offers a combination of online and in-person sessions and outings is provided to assist the women.

  • Community Building, Cultural Exchange, and Support Networks: Our groups are designed to build community and support the women in connecting with volunteers and other women. Children attend the events and learn how to socialize and connect with adults and have the opportunity to play with each other. Through different programming activities we nurture a foundation for social connections, friendships, and networks for mutual empowerment.
  • Education and Skill Development: A key part of the WEG Program is to encourage women to explore opportunities and expand their potential, particularly in ways that bring additional revenue to their families or boost self-esteem. Initiatives and workshops have included: “Car Maintenance”, “Bake Sales”, “Cooking Classes”, “Food Handler Certification”, sewing lessons (machine and hand), “How to Maintain a Website”, “Conversational English Classes”, access to resources for financial literacy and economic independence, and a cookbook based on the recipes from the women and their families with photo shoots by the WEG volunteers.
  • Health and Well-Being: The WEG program provides a safe space for women to share their stories and challenges promoting mental health and emotional well-being. In partnership with local institutions and wellness experts, we offer resources and support to address trauma and stress. We take the women to parks and museums, so the women feel welcomed by the wider community, and are encouraged to explore it. We encourage and support them to exercise and get out of the house, participating in fitness activities like swimming, yoga, bike riding sessions, theatre performances. 
  • Advocacy and Representation: Through conversation and workshops we encourage the women to identify, understand and advocate for their rights and needs. We facilitate information that supports the women to take an active role in decision making processes within their families and other community initiatives.

The Women’s Empowerment Group would not be possible without an incredible team of volunteers.

Participating in the women’s group as a volunteer provides a meaningful and enriching experience for both the volunteers and the women they support. It includes fostering a supportive community environment, creating a safe space to nurture personal growth, promoting cultural exchange and understanding, cultivating a sense of purpose and fulfillment, and facilitating positive change.

Volunteers provide authentic, natural support and are needed for a myriad of roles, including:

  • Meeting support:
    • Transport women and children to meetings
    • Pick up and deliver coffee or lunch
    • Plan children’s crafts or educational activities
    • Play with children and develop vocabulary
    • Research speakers or programs
  • Practice conversational English
  • Mentor women in business skills
  • Practice driving and navigation
  • Provide support during bake sales and other activities (Evenings/Saturdays)
  • Assist with grocery shopping
  • Mentor families
  • Tutor children
  • Advocate for or support women in resolving issues they may be facing
  • Advocate for children with special needs
  • Support moms during personal or family illness/hospitalization

By connecting with and supporting our Women’s Empowerment Group with simple acts of kindness and service, you can have a life-changing impact for generations to come. Your gift of time and encouragement will help build a bridge to a new beginning—and leave a lasting impression

To become a WEG volunteer follow the steps listed below:

  1. All volunteers must attend an online volunteer orientation. This is where we will review our volunteer opportunities, give you an overview of the program, and explain the next steps to volunteering. You can sign up for an orientation date HERE.  Orientations are held every other Thursday at 1pm CST.
  2. Complete a Volunteer Application on Better Impact
  3. Complete a $10 Background Check (link will be emailed to you from Sterling Volunteers)
  4. Complete a 30-minute online Anti-Child Abuse Training

Once you are finished with all of these steps, you can sign up for a shift with these links:

While volunteering is one way to support our program, there are multiple other ways you can get involved:

  • Donate: Generous donations help sustain the program and provide essential resources for refugee women including food and snacks in the in-person sessions.
  • Resources: Do you have materials, supplies, or expertise that could benefit women and their children? Educational, materials, craft supplies, or professional skills – for example: childwatch expertise, your contributions are welcome and appreciated.
  • Awareness: Raise awareness about the challenges and success of refugee women in our community. Educate and share our program’s mission and impact with friends, family, and social networks.
  • Become a core member of Women’s Empowerment Group committee. Contribute to the planning of programs and the development of resources aimed at empowering women within the group.

For more information

For more information about the Women’s Empowerment Group please contact
Praveena Lakshmanan at 832-715-8359 or plakshmanan@imgh.org