HAWA provides culturally specific programming for survivors of sexual assault in Milwaukee
Culturally specific programming
Hmong American Women's Association, or HAWA, is a Milwaukee-based nonprofit organization that was founded in 1993 by a group of 13 Hmong women.
The very first program they offered was a Paj Ntaub Circle.
HAWA has evolved by responding to the needs of the Hmong community in Milwaukee.
Today, HAWA offers culturally specific programs, services and education around sexual assault, domestic violence and gender-based violence, but their work certainly encompasses more than just those programs and services.
HAWA has a community resource center that includes a community closet, classroom and computer lab.
Additionally, HAWA has youth programming to build youth leadership in the Hmong community.
Wisconsin has the third largest Hmong population in the country.
Hmong people are an ethnic group with a specific language and culture. Hmong people originated in China and lived there autonomously for centuries.
Hmong people migrated to Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand in the 19th century to escape suppression and Chinese imperialism.
While U.S. military forces directly engaged the North Vietnamese in Vietnam, the CIA waged a "secret war" in Laos.
Laotian Army General Vang Pao, who was Hmong, recruited and trained Hmong soldiers, with support from the CIA, to fight against the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese.
According to an NPR report, American warplanes dropped an average of one bomb-load every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for years in Laos, making it the most heavily bombed country in history.
Fleeing persecution and imprisonment, Hmong people came to Wisconsin as political refugees following the end of the Vietnam War.
More information and resources
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