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Muslim Refugee Women Start Successful Businesses

ARIZONA – Leaving their homes thousands of miles away, Muslim women who immigrated to the United States have come together in Phoenix event, Arizona, to celebrate success stories in their new home, recalling hardships and breakthroughs.

“Last year, we started a new beginning skill training program for refugee women, said Asna Masood, the president of the American Muslim Women’s Association (AMWA), Voice of America reported.

Masood added that the women are taught how to sew and then helped to sell their products in the community.

Leaving sadness and often tragic pasts behind, around 20 refugee women were given a chance to sell homemade products at this donated space in Phoenix.

A group of social work students at Arizona State University created the Global Market pop-up store to help these women earn money.

The Global Market Project involved local non-profit groups at Arizona State, said Alyaa Al-Maadeed, one of the students.

Coming together on Saturday, women shared their stories.

“I am from Iraq,” said Nada Alrubaye. “I was an art teacher and I had two boys. One, my young boy, was killed in Baghdad. I decided to go to Turkey with another son because I wanted to protect him. After that, I came to Arizona.”

Rodain Abo Zeed, another refugee, said, “I escaped from Syria when the war started because there was no safety and no opportunities for my kids to continue their education and because my husband’s restaurant got burned down to ashes.”

Another refugee, Tahmina Besmal, told the gathering “We escaped from Afghanistan, me, my mom and two sisters because of safety and there were no opportunities for ladies to go to school, to do a job, to be independent.”

At the pop-up market, women exhibited their products for sale, including, paintings, jewelry, soap, and handicraft arts.

“I am happy with this shop,” Nada Alrubaye said.

Organizers hope to expand the market, which opened in February.

“The goal of the project is not only to bring these women short-term income. We want to really provide them with the experience to learn how to run their own businesses and learn how to be entrepreneurs,” said Megan McDermott, an Arizona State student.

Iraqi refugee Tara Albarazanchi sold her homemade soaps and body care products at the market.

“This pop-up gives me the experience of working in a shop, dealing with people (and) dealing with cash,” she said, adding that she is also learning about record-keeping.

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