SuWA is a student-organized community effort sponsored by the Kenan Institute for Ethics working to empower refugee women through education, small business development, and community building. The support and relationships present in the refugee community motivated the name SuWA, which is Iraqi for “togetherness.” SuWA is also an acronym for Supporting Women’s Action, which reflects the “togetherness” the women share.

The project was begun in Fall 2013 by two students—Leena El-Sadek and Maura Guyler—who wished to further their relationships with local refugee families built through their community engagement work in the DukeImmerse: Uprooted/Rerouted program. The adjustment to life after resettlement in Durham can be very challenging for refugee women in particular. Cultural and linguistic barriers are often a daily frustration. And the obstacles to finding quality health care, access to education, and employment can be daunting.

For more information contact Michelle Khalid (