In Her Presence is reaching to immigrant women with different cultures and backgrounds.Toting the slogan Out of the Shadow and Onto the Stage, the group hosts English language classes and a variety of educational workshops to provide a platform for Maine immigrant women to better integrate and succeed here in Maine.
Women and children make up three-quarters of all immigrants to the United States. According to the World Affairs Council of Maine’s recent report, 58.4% of undocumented or unauthorized immigrants are women. Despite this large percentage, women’s issues and the unique personal, economic and heath challenges facing immigrant women are rarely talked in particular as part of public discourse.
A small group of females from minority community leaders decided to create In Her Presence (IHP) which works with the Grassroots-NewMainers, specially Asylum Seekers who are the most vulnerable because of the language barrier, disenfranchised because of the race, isolated because of the ethnicity and have the biggest need for empowerment, integration and self-advocacy in different areas including health and economic opportunities.
The board is made up with 75% of the immigrant community members which seek to unify different communities together in order to strengthen the voice, to advance an equitable health and social stability.
The group started with Yoga classes at Portland Parkside Neighborhood Center. Classes were supported by the Yarmouth Women’s Group, who donated 15 yoga mats and accessories that will sustain future wellness classes. There was an average of 12 women per week who participated in the Yoga and Dance classes from March 2015 until June 2016.Through the classes, participant’s learned how to connect yoga techniques with stress management in their own lives as well as how to use yoga breathing and techniques to help build better self-awareness and confidence.
In Her Presence concentrated on areas of concern based on the members’ personal experiences and from feedback through their engagement in immigrant communities.In Her Presence is committed to an ongoing dialogue with community members about the needs of immigrant women and their families.In 2015,the non-profit organization501(c)(3) introduced a Women’s Conversational English Group.
IHP serves women from 13 different countries: Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda, Syria, Iraq, Angola, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Cameroun, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Afghanistan and the United States.
The leadership core is made up of immigrant women across the globe. Their involvement to facilitate the program as bi-lingual or co-teaching with the receiving community reflects their ownership of the program, such as supervision and coordination of the curriculum implementation, outreach, logistics, administration, partnership and collaboration building.
Abusana is a native of Democratic Republic of the Congo. Micky arrived in the U.S in 1996 and enjoyed a successful run as a producer manager and buyer of one of Georgia’s largest markets. She holds advanced degrees in bio-chemistry with research in sickle cell, but most recently has been working to improve integration of new immigrants in the Greater Portland area. She is a deeply committed community volunteer and leader and serves on many community boards and steering committees, as well as presents nationally and internationally at conferences
Claudette arrived in Maine just five years ago from Burundi, where she served as National Sales Manager of Heineken, the largest and soft beverage and brewer in Burundi. Deeply committed to the welfare of women and girls, she also served as the president of Burundi Girl Scouts Association. She has held several community positions since her arrival, and is currently a cultural broker at The Opportunity Alliance. Claudette’s business acumen and experience, in multiple cultures, are a tremendous asset as she seeks positive outcomes with sustainable results.