Celebrating Refugee Women This Women’s Day
It’s International Women’s Day, and we are highlighting a local collaborative dedicated to creating space for women refugees in West Michigan.
“With relationships trust is such a currency in the community to get things done, I think women bring something to the table in terms of being able to enter in with a bit of vulnerability.”
Women empowerment is at the heart of Treetops Collective. The nonprofit, who celebrates its 5-year anniversary this month, has a mission of investing in and connecting with New American leaders. An idea that came about during listening sessions with resettled refugees. Tarah Carnahan Director and Co-founder, explains.
“The gap of making this place home was really evident, we recognized that in order to create a more welcoming community where new Americans who resettled can find a place of belonging and home again it takes the whole community.”
Treetop’s primary program, Concentric, invests in 8 women from 8 different language groups each year. Participants go through a paid, 15-month program, where they learn how to navigate their new home.
“Whether that’s finance or legal support or education or relationships, they’re learning how to live life in a new place.”
The process is a give and take as the women go into their own language communities, teaching their peers how to work the local systems and achieve independent ventures for themselves.
“What is it that they are excited about or are passionate about, so we can be good connectors.”
The movement has a big relational element, connecting women with intentional systems of support.