From the left, Shelly Pitterman, former UNHCR Regional Representative, Samba Halkose, and Abdalhamid Ali.
Today, we honor the millions of migrant and refugee women around the world. We want to share the story of one woman who sought a better life for herself and her children.
Samba was a single mother in the Democratic Republic of Congo where she was disrespected and called a prostitute. The stigma and discrimination made life difficult for her and she longed for a better future.
After her father passed away, she became responsible for providing for her twelve younger siblings and mother in addition to her own two children. Even though she worked, it was difficult to support the whole family. There were times when the economy grew so unstable that she went two or three months without being paid.
However, she knew that in the United States, even single mothers could work hard and support their families. She dreamed of having the chance to live somewhere where she could provide a better life for her children.
Like Samba, many women around the world work hard to take care of their families in the midst of difficult circumstances. Many also leave their homes – some see an opportunity for a better life, others because they are forced to flee for their lives.
Today and everyday we support the courageous migrant and refugee women who seek a better and safer life, and who make the difficult decision to leave their homes for an uncertain future. Globally, women and girls make up half of all refugees and close to half of all migrants in the world.
Among the 65 million displaced people in the world today are mothers like Samba, who hope for a better future. Very few get a chance to realize that future. In fact, less than 1% of refugees are ever approved for resettlement in another country like the United States.
Eventually, Samba was able to come the United States, but she had to leave her children behind in Congo. When she arrived, she found both opportunities and challenges. At first she struggled to understand American culture and felt acutely embarrassed by her accent.
Over years of hard work, Samba built a new life for herself. She learned about American culture, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business science, and became an American citizen. Eventually, after six years of work and waiting, Samba was able to reunite with her children.
She now says, “by sharing my story and listening to the stories of others I began to heal. I can now proudly say ‘I speak four languages, that’s why I have an accent.’” She has been able to purchase a house that her children now call home and has become a leader in her community.
Everyday we welcome migrant and refugee women, equipping them to become involved in their communities. Join us by making a donation today to support migrant and refugee women.