This International Women’s Day, UK for UNHCR supporter, aspiring lawyer and Syrian refugee Haya shares her message for women and girls globally.
When I think about what it means to be a woman, certain ideas come to mind. To me, being female means beauty, kindness, strength, but also sacrifice. We represent the heart of society, and without a shadow of a doubt are no less important than men. We are wives, child-bearers, mothers and teachers for children at home before they go to school.
When I think about what it means to be a female refugee however, I feel there is an added layer of responsibility. Not only am I responsible for myself, but I am also responsible for my family. I need to be extra strong, brave, and independent so that I can support my family as much as possible.
Every International Women’s Day I am reminded of the women who came before me, the sacrifices they made, and the positive impact they had on society.
My mum is my biggest inspiration. When my father passed away my mum was in a weak and vulnerable position, raising five children alone, whilst bearing the responsibility of escaping the war alone. She has worked tirelessly to sustain a comfortable life for us. She sacrificed everything for her children and she never gave up despite the odds being stacked against her. Most importantly, she remained kind and patient with us, regardless of what was going on around her. She is my hero.
Men cause futile and cruel wars to prove that they are strong.
— Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) March 8, 2022
Zaha Hadid is another of my inspirations. Since being a young girl, I have been fascinated with the Iraqi–British architect and her determination and willingness to succeed. I am also inspired by Angelina Jolie and Cate Blanchett for advocating for refugees and understanding the pain that refugees go through. I hope that one day I get the opportunity to meet them in person so I can express my gratitude and thank them for their support.
Finally, I would like to share this message. If you are a mother, know that you are the strongest. I would like to send my regards to every woman and girl. I want to tell them that you are not weak, you are not alone, please remain strong because we need you. I know what it’s like to struggle, but I also know there is a light at the end of the tunnel as I’ve seen it with my own eyes. My heart goes out to you, and I will celebrate you on this International Women’s Day.
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