Video Advocacy Project

Voices of African Women in Denver

The videos below are the product of an initiative of the Denver Women's Commission (DWC) that was created to strengthen the voices and presence of women within the refugee and immigrant communities.  The project is one way to promote civic engagement, ensuring that refugee & immigrant women feel welcome, a part of the community, and connected to their government.  We want to build bridges between immigrant & refugee women's communities and other women organizations. 

Funded by the Denver Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships, the project promotes integration, inclusion, and greater cross-cultural understanding by placing value on African* women’s voices and the positive contributions that this population makes to the community. 

Fadumo Adan, Refugee
Fadumo came to the United States with her family when she was five years old. Knowing no English upon her arrival, she dedicated herself to studying and reading as much as she could. In addition to her sharp mind, she says her encouraging teachers and supportive family helped her become who she is today: an ambitious college student, volunteer, and passionate advocate for refugees. Fadumo believes that increasing the visibility of refugee issues in Denver is extremely important.

Hawa Salah, Refugee
South Sudan
In 2005, Hawa came to the United States with her siblings and her mother.  The first day they arrived, it was snowing, and she had never seen snow before. She also did not know any English.  After arriving, she dedicated herself to learning the language, and she has worked with the African Community Center to help other new refugees by interpreting and helping them get acquainted with their new surroundings.  Hawa says one thing she would change about Denver is "the traffic at 4 or 5:00 in the afternoon," but she loves living here with her husband and their two children. She hopes that one day her children can go to South Sudan to understand more about their own heritage.


Yaa Frimpong, Immigrant
Yaa moved to the United States to pursue further education after receiving a Bachelor's degree in Ghana. She attended the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver and earned a Master's degree, followed by a second Master's from Regis University in Organizational Leadership.  Yaa is very active in Denver-- she teaches English to refugees at Colorado African Organization and serves as a representative of the Ghanaian community here.  However, she also stays informed and connected to current issues in Ghana.  She is sensitive to the issues that refugee women face in the United States and strongly advocates for their needs. 


Hiwet Ogbazion, Political Asylee
Hiwet is from Eritrea, a country located in the Horn of Africa.  She is proud to be Eritrean and loves when people know about her home.  She is the mother of six children, five of whom are still in Africa, and the youngest (age 22) lives here in Denver with her.  Hiwet started her career in Africa by teaching middle school for twenty years.  She loves communicating with former students via Facebook who are now all over the world.  In Denver, she works as a CNA, and she spends some of her free time volunteering with Colorado African Organization as a community health worker.  She really enjoys working with the African community in Denver and teaching people about basic health issues.


Nadira Rami, Immigrant

Nadira moved to the United States from Morocco in 2007. Although Nadira speaks Moroccan, Arabic, French, and Spanish, she remembers feeling embarrassed when she couldn't speak English upon arriving here.  She is committed to learning and attends English classes at Colorado African Organization as often as she can.  Although she has one degree in Spanish Literature, she hopes to graduate from a community college in Denver so that she can achieve her goal of becoming an interpreter.  Nadira also loves cooking Moroccan food, spending time with her husband and two sons, and visiting places like Red Rocks.


A refugee is a person who is outside their country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country or to return there, for fear of persecution.

* A refugee usually applies for this status in a second country that is different than his or her home country or hosting country.  For example, many South Sudanese refugees live in Egypt prior to coming to the United States.

An asylum seeker is a person who has fled personal danger in their home country, has entered the U.S. directly in search of safety and protection and in order to stay must apply for asylum.

* An asylum seeker usually applies for this status from within his or her home country.  

An asylee is a non-U.S. Citizen in the U.S. whose application for asylum has been granted by the Department of Justice and about whom a determination has been made that they are "unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution, based on the person's race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

An immigrant (or economic migrant) normally leaves a country voluntarily to seek a better life. Should he or she decide to return home, they would continue to receive the protection of his or her government. Refugees flee because of the threat of persecution and cannot return safely to their homes.


* Note:  The Agency for Human Rights and the Denver Women's Commission promote inclusion for ALL individuals, regardless of country or continent of origin.  This particular project was spearheaded by an intern with a personal passion for women's rights and prior experience working with the African population in Denver. Limited funding and time constraints are the only reasons for limiting the scope of the project.

Liz Miller university of denver, refugees, women, integration, denver colorado, immigrants, africa, eritrea, somalia, south sudan, morocco, ghana, collaboration, community, advocacy, denver women's commission, denver agency for human rights and community partnerships, women's commission, office of community support, video advocacy project, video project, refugee women, immigrant women, immigrant women in denver, refugee women in denver, refugee

The Denver Office on Women & Families

201 W. Colfax Avenue, Dept. 1102

Denver, Colorado 80202

720-913-8465 | 720-913-8470 Fax | 720-913-8475 TTY