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San Diego Non-Profit Helps Local Refugee Community

— Trying to build on the spirit of unity following the 9/11 attacks, a San Diego non-profit is working to reach out to a community of impoverished refugees.

Voices of Women will hold a free conference tomorrow morning titled "Open Doors, Open Minds."

The goal is to help local East African refugees and service providers better understand each other, and to improve the health of the entire community.

Jenni Prisk says she saw the events of 9/11 as a call to action, and founded Voices of Women a decade ago.

"Like everyone else,” says Prisk, “I was shocked and dismayed by the news of the twin towers, and decided that I could do one of two things. I could either remain dismayed and saddened, or I could do something about it."

In October 2001, she contacted women from around San Diego and encouraged them to get together to discuss how to promote peace, justice and human security. They continued to meet regularly ever since.

Prisk says the mission of the organization is to use education and communication to break down global and political boundaries.

In conjunction with tomorrow’s conference, there is an essay competition for the children of refugees. Nineteen middle school children wrote essays on the subject "If I Could Change My World."

More about the conference can be found in the "Current Events" section of the Web site voicesofwomen.org.

Guest Speakers at the Conference:

Morris Casuto – Retired Director of the Anti Defamation League

Tehseen Lazzouni – San Diego Islamic Speakers Bureau

Agin Shaheed – San Diego Unified School District

Abdiweli Heibeh – San Diego Police Department

Wanjiru Golly – Child Welfare Services

Michelle Murphy Zive – Network for a Healthy California

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