North Carolina Hmong Women Association, Inc. (NC HWA)

North Carolina Hmong Women Association, Inc. (NC HWA)

NC HWA seeks to address issues facing NC Hmong women and girls in today’s world and equip them to overcome tomorrow’s challenges. Our programs are focused on Hmong women and girl issues, at the same time engage Hmong families and the greater community. We plan to draw on experts who

North Carolina Hmong Women Association, Inc. (NC HWA)

NC HWA seeks to address issues facing NC Hmong women and girls in today’s world and equip them to overcome tomorrow’s challenges. Our programs are focused on Hmong women and girl issues, at the same time engage Hmong families and the greater community. We plan to draw on experts who understand the dynamics and intricacies of the Hmong culture and community. We also hope to create opportunities for self-representation to inspire young Hmong women and girls. Here we list programs that the organization is committed to implement. Our work is important because we are the first and only nonprofit organization in NC with programs specifically focused on supporting Hmong women and girls. Our co-founders and board members are Hmong women. We draw upon our lived experiences as Hmong women to create our programs and identify gaps within our Hmong community. We are the daughters and granddaughters of a patriarchal culture that equates women to the value of money and the extensions of their male relations. We are the daughters of bridenapping, polygamy, child brides, rape and war. We never had a voice until now. We are Hmong women and girls breaking through cultural and systemic barriers that held us back for centuries. As a new organization created by NC Hmong women, for Hmong women and girls, our initial success is evident through officially forming as a 501c3 organization. The Hmong community in NC is an invisible and vulnerable population that is untapped and unorganized. In 2018, CoFounders, Sendra Yang and Duabhav Lee, began discussing their desire to create an organization to fill the gap that existed for Hmong women and girls in NC. After a few years of development in their careers and education, they finally began organizing the nonprofit. Through self determination and outreach to their network, they were able to create bylaws, recruit a board, develop a strategic plan, and file for incorporation in NC and 501c3 nonprofit status. The success came when the organization received the letter with official nonprofit status earlier this year.

About the Organization:

NC HWA seeks to address issues facing NC Hmong women and girls in today’s world and equip them to overcome tomorrow’s challenges. Our programs are focused on Hmong women and girl issues, at the same time engage Hmong families and the greater community. We plan to draw on experts who understand the dynamics and intricacies of the Hmong culture and community. We also hope to create opportunities for self-representation to inspire young Hmong women and girls. Here we list programs that the organization is committed to implement. Our work is important because we are the first and only nonprofit organization in NC with programs specifically focused on supporting Hmong women and girls. Our co-founders and board members are Hmong women. We draw upon our lived experiences as Hmong women to create our programs and identify gaps within our Hmong community. We are the daughters and granddaughters of a patriarchal culture that equates women to the value of money and the extensions of their male relations. We are the daughters of bridenapping, polygamy, child brides, rape and war. We never had a voice until now. We are Hmong women and girls breaking through cultural and systemic barriers that held us back for centuries. As a new organization created by NC Hmong women, for Hmong women and girls, our initial success is evident through officially forming as a 501c3 organization. The Hmong community in NC is an invisible and vulnerable population that is untapped and unorganized. In 2018, CoFounders, Sendra Yang and Duabhav Lee, began discussing their desire to create an organization to fill the gap that existed for Hmong women and girls in NC. After a few years of development in their careers and education, they finally began organizing the nonprofit. Through self determination and outreach to their network, they were able to create bylaws, recruit a board, develop a strategic plan, and file for incorporation in NC and 501c3 nonprofit status. The success came when the organization received the letter with official nonprofit status earlier this year.

organizational budget

$0 - $50,000

existence for

0-5 Years

The Issue:

Hmong women issues are different and unique. When compared to other AAPI women, Hmong women may experience higher degrees of economic disparities. According to NAPAWF , in 2020 Hmong women made 59 cents less than Taiwanese women. The problems that Hmong women face are embedded in a history of war and centuries-old culture. According to a 2010 mental health assessment by the Wilder foundation , factors such as war trauma, violence, poverty, loss and grief are linked to psychological distress causing high prevalence of mental illness in the Hmong community. The assessment continues that Hmong women mental well-being are significantly impacted by issues of polygamy, infidelity, and divorce - where polygamy has been a culturally and socially accepted practice within the Hmong community for so long. Another tradition that has a serious implication to the well-being of Hmong women and girls is the practice of bride-napping. The following statement is from one of our co-founders, Duabhav Lee, as she recounts the event of her friend being bride-napped and her thoughts. “My best friend was bride-napped while I was attending college in 2007. My best friend’s boyfriend from Pennsylvania came to visit and told her they were going out. As soon as she agreed to go with him, her fate was sealed. When she arrived at his parents’ home for the wedding ceremony, she refused. But his mother told her that her own parents would not accept her back into their home as a daughter anymore. She knew it was true. Her parents, like many conservative Hmong families, accepted the fate of their daughters this way.” Compared to the other three states with large Hmong populations, the NC Hmong community is relatively more conservative. Current Hmong organizations in NC do not address the needs of Hmong women and girls. There is a constant challenge for Hmong women and girls to bridge between the traditional culture and mainstream society. Lack of support and awareness for Hmong women and girls in regards to social aspects, career development, higher education, financial literacy, mental health, cultural identity, and many more, initiated the formation of NC HWA.

The Solution:

NC HWA seeks to address issues facing NC Hmong women and girls in today’s world and equip them to overcome tomorrow’s challenges. Our programs are focused on Hmong women and girl issues, at the same time engage Hmong families and the greater community. We plan to draw on experts who understand the dynamics and intricacies of the Hmong culture and community. We also hope to create opportunities for self-representation to inspire young Hmong women and girls. Here we list programs that the organization is committed to implement. Community Health Assessment (CHA) - Little is known about the NC Hmong community. The CHA consists of a multiple-layered assessment (ie, online surveys, interviews, literature review, forum for community leaders and professionals (currently planning), etc.) of the needs to better target and focus future organizational programs for Hmong women and girls in NC. Mental Health Workshops - The organization plans to hold workshops geared towards recognizing mental health and creating “safe spaces” where Hmong women and girls can feel secure speaking about their mental health issues. Higher Education Awareness and Mentorship - We plan to work with young Hmong girls to ensure they graduate and seek an education beyond high school. We’d like to hold different workshops about: FAFSA, colleges and universities, trade schools, and other topics. We also plan on forming a mentorship program where young Hmong girls can learn and be mentored by Hmong women professionals. Next Generation Leaders - We plan to nurture next generation female community leaders through a leadership development program that empowers them to create their definition of what it means to be Hmong. Hmong Women Advancing - We plan to better prepare Hmong women for career advancement through workshop sessions on: resume help, interview tips, salary negotiation strategies, personal branding, and etc. Celebrate Hmong Women and Girls - We plan to have an event and an avenue where we recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Hmong women and girls in NC. We want to inspire Hmong women and girls who are struggling to see what is possible, and bring awareness of the extraordinary contributions of Hmong women to the greater NC communities.

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