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Daryel -- The Somali Women's Wellness Project

Daryel, the Somali Women's Wellness Project, exists to provide a safe, supportive environment for the health and wellness of Somali women. The women who come to Daryel are refugees from a war-torn country. Many have lived in refugee camps for years, only to come to an unfamiliar land where they do not speak the language or know the customs. Most have been separated from parents, children or spouses. All have witnessed or somehow suffered the consequences of the violence of war. These women suffer disproportionately from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and chronic pain.


The overall aim of the clinic is to address the pain — both physical and psychological—as well as the isolation experienced by many Somali women living in our community. At Daryel, around 15 to 20 women receive massages, attend a yoga class, learn about ways to improve their health, and enjoy one another's company in a safe, welcoming environment.


In fact, the main reason Daryel was founded was to provide massage to the Somali refugee women. It began as a collaboration between Cortiva Institute of Massage and Harborview's Community House Calls program in 2009. In the beginning, massages were provided by Cortiva students, but since then many practicing professional massage practitioners have begun to volunteer their time for the benefit of these refugee women as well. Daryel has also been reaching out to other massage schools in the area to find student volunteers.

Thanks to the efforts of these volunteers at Daryel, the Somali women report a significant decrease in symptoms, and it is clear that they truly love receiving massages. 


If you are a licensed massage therapist who would like more information about volunteering at Daryel, contact Palesteen Williams, volunteer coordinator, at 425-633-9458. Or you may send an email to

Daryel, the Somali Women’s Wellness Project is affiliated with the Southeast Seattle Senior Foundation, tax ID #91-1634207.  


If you would like to make a donation, contact Daryel at

A special thanks to Zoe Bermet, a licensed massage therapist and former volunteer coordinator at Daryel, for the information contained on this web page. 

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