Student Organization Highlighted

The following is an article in the Norman Transcript located here

Student organization to help refugee women

By Jessica Bruha Transcript Staff Writer | Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2015 12:00 am

A new student organization at the University of Oklahoma is dedicated to helping refugee and low-income women in the West Bank.

“The women are not only struggling, they don’t have the right to work or make income,” said Jennifer Reavis, graduate assistant.

A project that started five years ago as a fundraiser at the Student Society for Human Relations OU-Tulsa campus, transformed into a non-profit organization called Child’s Cup Full (CCF). The program provides employment opportunities for marginalized women.

CCF takes the talent and expertise of the women in the region to create handcrafted educational children’s toys and other handmade projects, according to their website, childscupfull.org.

“By offering these ladies employment, they are also being offered empowerment skills, access to a market and a sense of purpose,” she said.

The women have also started a separate line, Darzah, making embroidered shoes and other accessories. The profits from their sales go to providing them a living wage and the mission is to create grassroots education programs for their kids with the remaining profits, Reavis said.

Dr. Janette Habashi, founder and director of the Child’s Cup Full program, said they wouldn’t be where they are today without help from the university and the Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth. The organizations helped create a business model and brand the project.

CCF started as a way to help children in the Jenin refugee camp, but morphed into the non-profit to ensure longevity. By training and employing the refugee women, it generates funds for education programs.

Habishi visits the refugee women in Palestine every year and is in constant contact with the team on the ground there. Being Palestinian herself, she has had the unique opportunity to communicate with the women and children involved.

She remembered one woman telling her before she was hired she couldn’t even give her child a quarter to go to school. Now, she can give it to him.

“The children are very proud of their mom,” Habishi said. “They show their neighbors what their moms are doing.”

Habishi said the mother and children both take ownership in the work done.

Reavis said it is their hope those in the new student organization at the Norman campus will get hands-on correspondence with the women, as well.

“We want to show them the experience of these women and what it looks like though their eyes,” she said.

The organization will also serve as a platform to raise awareness in the community regarding the refugees’ situation.

“We have to work together to make it successful,” she said.

According to the Child’s Full Cup website, the longterm goal of the non-profit is to generate enough funds from sales to build a consortium of artisan centers throughout the West Bank, as well as support grassroots education programs for refugee children.

For more information visit childscupfull.org or darzah.org.

Jessica Bruha

366-3540

jbruha@normantranscript.com

Follow me @JbruhaTNT

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