After high school Rafael Arciga wanted to go to college, but needed
some help. He applied for - and received - a scholarship from the
Hispanic Women's Organization of Arkansas.
motivation," he said. "Besides helping me pay for my studies and books,
it was knowing that people in the community wanted someone to advance
The group aims at several goals - one being to
offer information on educational opportunities - and scholarships - for
Hispanic women and their families.
"The Latino community does
not have a lot of places to go to find information, so our organization
is providing a service that is needed," said Executive Director
The HWOA also helps its members become
active in the Northwest Arkansas community - like Rafael. Not only did
he receive a degree with the help of the Hispanic Women's Organization -
he now teaches computer courses there - and is on the group's board.
is basically letting people know that you have someone to rely on, and
someone that is going to guide you through whatever it is that you
need," he said.
HWOA guides people through learning the
English language, obtaining citizenship, and voting. Rafael said that
immigrants learning something as simple as using a computer can change
"Telling them you can contact your families, put
computer skills in (their) resume, or a student getting a scholarship
for his dream of becoming someone - it is empowerment," he said.
of HWOA educate immigrants moving to the area about Northwest Arkansas -
but also aim to teach local citizens about its culture through a yearly
Cinco De Mayo celebration, and an annual conference.
important for us to educate the Latino community about what is available
in regards to services, but also to educate the community about the
Latino culture and issues," Solonrazano said.
Women's Organization of Arkansas served 10,000 people like Rafael last
year - some, who like him - will turn around and help others new to
Northwest Arkansas build better lives.
For more information on
HWOA, go to: http://www.hwoa.org/