The Women's Learning Center
The Women's Learning Center was initiated in 2007 as a pilot project to promote refugee and immigrant women's civic leadership and participation. Funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), the project trained over 100 refugee women in New York City. The outcome and lessons learned from this project highlighted the need for a space for immigrant women to engage in the process of "EMPOWERMENT."
WLC utilizes an Empowerment Model to document the following:
- Individual Change: How change occurs in individual women's behavior and lives if they participate in targeted activities.
- Structural change: How immigrant women individually and collectively mobilize to change social conventions and structures and behaviors that shape their lives. For example, forms of power or gender relationships, and how these social norms are perpetuated.
- Social and Relation Change: Immigrant women create new and different forms of relations with each other, within the family and form networks for mutual support.
Built upon social theory that recognizes the power of individuals (which scholars have termed “agency") and structures, Sauti Yetu’s view of empowerment is unique: It incorporates relationships, which, research and experience indicate, are key factors in the construction and entrenchment of social inequity, and must be altered if inequality is to be overcome. Our understanding of empowerment reminds us that change is improvement in the physical, economic, political or social well-being of women.
The Learning Center is a space where immigrant women to learning and acquire the following skills
- Literacy and ESL
- Advocacy and Community Organizing
- Social Networking and support
- Financial and economic literacy.
- Immigration Policy
- Health Policy
Our Advocacy and community organizing uses popular education and community-based participatory research to develop the leadership skills of immigrant women and girls to plan and lead activities and projects for specific and measurable gains at the local and state level. Through our organizing, we aim to implement social change at the individual, community, institutional and societal levels, and develop and sustain the presence, voice and leadership of young African immigrant women in Social Justice Movements.