Elena’s Light & Westchester Jewish Coalition
for Immigrants Present Afghan Women’s Circle
at JCC Mid-Westchester
Two nonprofits, Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration, Inc. (WJCI) and Elena’s Light Incorporation, are joining forces to herald an “Afghan Women’s Circle” initiative. This 5-week, biweekly, 90-minute support group serves as a safe and confidential cultural space for conversations relevant to the empowerment and personal growth of Afghan women who have recently arrived in the United States. The collaborative group will take place at JCC Mid-Westchester.
Weekly topics at the circle will include motherhood, language acquisition, employment, socialization, cultural competence, women’s health, financial literacy, the driver’s license application process, women’s rights, and other tools to help them transition and adjust to the cultural bridge of American life. The common goal of each weekly topic is to provide a sense of independence and resilience while advancing their understanding and practice of empowerment — sentiments Elena’s Light staff are hoping will be strengthened by the addition of a mentor for each participant once regular group meetings have ended.
These mentors are conscious of each woman’s situation and will cater their support services as much.
In the United States, Afghan women frequently lack the resources and self-confidence to address or overcome language and cultural barriers. They endure gender discrimination and hold in trauma in unhealthy, private ways, never allowed to come up for air. Additionally, they commonly lack knowledge of opportunities available to them and their families. They need companionship, mentorship, guidance, psychological support, language and literacy skills, access to education, and information about their options. The Afghan Women’s Circle was created to address these issues.
Founded by Fereshteh Ganjavi, a refugee, Elena’s Light embodies a mission to engineer brighter futures for refugee women and children. The staffers there accomplish this through consistent engagement with families, offering English tutoring, healthcare navigation, legal advocacy, covid relief, and other support. In collaboration with partners across the region. Elena’s Light is also helping to build a long-term support network for the newest members of the community.
WJCI is a non-partisan, volunteer-run, and led organization dedicated to helping all immigrants. In early 2022, WJCI partnered with UJA-Federation of New York and The Shapiro Foundation to help 15 local resettlement groups resettle Afghan refugees, effectively aiding nearly 100 Afghan refugees to come off army bases around the country.
“WJCI is honored to be working alongside Elena’s Light on this project. We look forward to seeing the results and hope that the women reap its rewards for years to come,” said Holly Rosen Fink, President, and co-Founder of WJCI.