This International Women’s Day, We Celebrate Refugee Women

05 February 2018

A group of refugee women stand together in front of a building. (Jesuit Refugee Service)

This Thursday we celebrate International Women’s Day – a day to support and celebrate women around the world. At the Jesuit Refugee Service, this means a particular celebration of refugee women. At times of displacement, women and girls are particularly vulnerable, especially for those who are unaccompanied, pregnant, heads of households, disabled, or elderly. But, women are also the centers of resilience, the voices of peace, and pillars of hope in communities of displacement. Their stories and voices need to be celebrated and supported.

As we prepare for International Women’s Day, here are some stories from around the world of remarkable women, who, against all the odds of their displacement, are getting educated, promoting peace, raising families, and empowering others.

Lebanon: The FVDL Centre encourages Roula to pursue her dreams: Roula is a tenacious teenager who, despite her displacement from her home of Syria, is pursuing her dream of becoming a scientist.

Colombia: Women contribute to peace through the promotion of health: Through a JRS sponsored project, women in Columbia are serving as “health promoters” in the settlements La Conquista and Guadalupe, located on the ring road of the city of Cúcuta. These women organize the community to prevent disease, promote healthy habits, and create community.

Lebanon: ‘I want the children of the world to hear my story’: Randa is an incredibly brave Syrian refugee who has made her new home in Lebanon. She wrote and illustrated her story for children, so that they can recognize their own resilience.

Afghanistan: Expanding education opportunities for girls: Though many aid groups have pulled out of Afghanistan in the last month, JRS tells the story of why we’re still working to help bring education to girls in Afghanistan.

South Africa: Arrupe Women’s Centre Graduates Celebrate Their Success, New Courses and Opportunities: Learn about the remarkable asylee women at the JRS Arrupe Center in South Africa and their efforts to get the education and skills they need to build success in their new homes.

Syria: When hope returns – Amena’s story: Amena, a resilient teenager, regained her confidence (and laughter) after experiencing serious violence and destruction.

Malawi: women refugees as community leaders: Women in Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi are taking hold of their futures by getting higher education and taking on leadership while doing it.