MASON, Ohio — A man who lost his family to tragedy overseas is on a mission to help foreign-born women in Ohio.

What You Need To Know

  • George Sehi lost his father and grandfather in an earthquake in Iran almost 50 years ago in Iran
  • Soon after, he then got an opportunity through education and wanted to help

  • He started the group, Women Walking West, to help foreign-born women get an education in the U.S. 

  • Belarusian native and mother Olga Klochkov found the group and a mentor to help her get back into the professional industry 

Olga Klochkov had tears in her eyes just thinking about how she got here.

“It was a huge culture shock,” said Klochkov. 

She traveled thousands of miles from a small country, Belarus, near Russia, all the way to Ohio in an effort to continue her English language education. She got here, got married, and became a mom of three, but she said something was missing.

“I have this unfulfilled dream of becoming a professional, of giving something. So making a difference,” said Klochkov.

That’s when she found Women Walking West. It’s a group created to help immigrants get an education in the U.S. It’s a women’s group started by a man named George Sehi. 

“The needs for women was much more severe than men, especially if those ladies were coming from Middle East, from Pakistan, India, Iran, Afghanistan. because education in those countries is not a priority for women,” said Sehi. 

Sehi, a retired college educator, had to make that same transition himself. He came to the U.S. from Iran almost 50 years ago after he’d lost everything.

“I lost my family in the earthquake, including my dad and a grandfather and so forth. But I was going to school here in the U.S., but the university came forward and said, if you maintain a 2.5 GPA, we will waive one-third of your tuition,” said Sehi. 

He said that opportunity helped him break into education where he was hearing some of the same issues.

“Throughout my career as a college professor and department chair and the dean, I had a lot of international students coming to me with all kinds of issues like ‘I cover my hair. People are looking at me in a different way,’” said Sehi. 

It’s all part of the reason he started the group at Sinclair Community College in Mason. He wanted to help foreign-born women get an education and pairing them with mentors from other countries to help guide them.

“I finally regained that purpose and belief and that can-do attitude,” said Klochkov.