Magnificent Healing Play

About Magnificent Healing

PAIRWN has had 12 years of community-based work with refugee and immigrant women and their families.  This has resulted in a deep understanding of the need to be an advocate and voice for immigrant and refugee women in our area. To that end, we have developed several projects such as monthly Story Circles, the Women’s Health Conference, the Our Voices exhibition at the State Museum and two theater productions, one of which focuses awareness on health care issues for the medical profession. Through these programs, PAIRWN has educated medical professions, insurance company and helped many immigrant and refugee women express themselves, have confidence and have their voices heard.

Magnificent Healing, the reader’s theater that focuses on health issues, presents the personal stories of four refugee/immigrant women who have faced challenges in the medical world.  Told with empathy and humor, as if the women are sitting around the kitchen table, the stories highlight issues of interpretation, cultural expectations, and differing attitudes toward health and healing.  One woman is forced to rely on her estranged husband as the interpreter for her visits to the doctor.  Another must contend with the physical effects and cultural misunderstandings of female circumcisionIn between these stories, snippets of other experiences are shared by the “chorus.”



“Thank you!

I want to thank the ladies who came to Highmark today to share their stories (or the stories of others).  I believe this was the BEST educational presentation I’ve seen here at Highmark!

I am sorry that so many people missed the opportunity to attend today’s program.  However, since I did see that this was recorded, I plan to do my part to make sure others try to learn more by viewing the video later.

I know it can’t be easy to share those stories in front of strangers, but please know how much I personally appreciated the strength and courage it takes to speak up.

I would like to especially thank Medina for sharing the story of female circumcision.  Although I am familiar with this topic, it still is always difficult for me to hear, and I believe it is still not very widely known to begin with.  So, I can’t even imagine how that experience shapes the health care experience or how the women feel in having to address it in that environment.

I had the pleasure to meet some people from the PAIRWN group as I participated in a PAIRWN event (a silent auction was part of it) many years ago and performed with a drumming group there.

I am so happy to see PAIRWN is still going strong and that this great group of ladies is now getting out here with Highmark to help us see some of the specific challenges that people from diverse cultures experience in our health care system, and especially for immigrant and refugee women.

Please keep up the great work you are doing!”

Leigh W.
Internal Communications
Highmark Inc.


“PAIRWN’s Magnificent Healing play is a moving piece about issues related to health that are faced by immigrant and refugee women who have come to the United States. It not only deals physical health, but also touches on themes related to mental well-being. This powerful play provides a voice to true stories that are not usually told. All of the women in the play provided their own stories, or read true stories of other women. Every story is a unique look into the life of an immigrant or refugee that reveals both the trials and triumphs that they have experienced. They are so important for others to hear, but many have not been told before. The goal of this play is to bring empathy and understanding about these issues, and it does so with great success.

As an intern I loved being part of Magnificent Healing. This play was made to help educate people and help them understand health issues faced by immigrants and refugees, and I think that purpose is so important. It was a moving experience to work with all the women who were sharing such powerful stories. From the first day of rehearsal I had such a strong emotional reaction to the stories that were being read. They made me want to laugh, cry, cringe, and scream, smile, and sigh with relief. Even after hearing them over and over at rehearsals, the stories were still just as powerful for me as they were on the first day that I heard them. It was so moving to hear about women who have had such hardships and seeing how they triumphed over them. I consider it a privilege to have worked with all the women involved in this project and I am so glad that I got to be part of it.”

Rachel Book
Intern with PAIRWN
Messiah College