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‘I Can Dream Again’
Jun 09, 2022

For the resilient women who come to Zaman to better their lives and lift their families out of poverty, their journey takes them from crisis and instability to sustainability and success. 

On June 9, Zaman’s vocational and literacy program – BOOST – brought together 80 Zaman clients, past and present, to celebrate their progress in breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

“Zaman brought me back to life. I now have an opportunity to realize all of the goals that I had put on hold. I can dream again,” said Arwa, a BOOST graduate and owner of Arwa's Corner who was selling her intricately embroidered products at the event, which Zaman hosted in its Hope for Humanity Center.

Arwa’s Corner is the small business she developed and opened with the guidance of Zaman’s entrepreneurship class and reflects the ultimate goal of a client achieving sustainable success after graduating from Zaman.

“To bring back someone like Arwa who has completed the program and now runs her own small business sends a powerful message to our clients who have similar goals,” said BOOST Director Gigi Salka.  “The ceremony was such a beautiful way to recognize the hard work these women are putting in every day and showcase what they can accomplish in pursuit of their dreams.”

The end-of-the-year ceremony honored 105 students at various stages of their Zaman journey whether they improved their English skills, gained U.S. citizenship, advanced their education, learned new life and vocational skills, started their own business, or found employment outside Zaman.

During the program, Yolanda Gardenhire announced she had achieved one of her major goals of earning a high school diploma as she continues to work to build a better life with her son. 

“I did it, I completed (earning my diploma) and I want to thank you so much,” Yolanda said. “It has been a wonderful journey for the seven months I’ve been here.”

Yolanda, who is employed onsite at Zaman’s Rising Hope Bakery earning a livable wage, had shared her story with Subaru’s CNN Hero Success Story last year as it highlighted Zaman’s success since the 2019 CNN Heroes Award.


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