WRD UNHCR STORIES: Teacher. Mother. Women’s representative

“We walked and hid for more than 3 months”

Gisma, 28 years old: “I am proud to represent the women here at the UNHCR SSD_WRD_Gisma story camp. Until two years ago, I knew nothing
about women’s issues and children’s rights. I was so happy when I was selected to give an interview to the local
radio on International Women’s Day to speak out against early marriage. As a member of the women’s committee,
I also help identify refugee children who have been separated from their families and organize foster care.

The community work keeps me busy and always sparks new ideas. Our latest initiative is to open a women’s teashop.

We are putting together a business plan. Tidiness, good manners and cold water are key to attract customers.
I have always had a passion for learning new things and sharing knowledge. My whole life back home was about
education. I would be a secondary school teacher in the morning and university student in the afternoon. At
night, I would take care of my husband and children. We had a nice house, with electricity, an air-conditioner and
a fridge. I miss those times.”
Gisma is a refugee in Gendrassa, one of South Sudan’s 10 refugee camps. She was forced to ee her hometown
Bau in Sudan’s Blue Nile State in early 2012, as the conict between government and opposition forces
intensied. “I was terried and horried to hear about cold-blooded executions and gang-rapes in my
village,” she says.

Gisma was pregnant at the time she decided to run for her life together with her husband
and daughter. “We walked and hid for more than three months before reaching South Sudan,” she says. “I fell
sick during the journey and I had a stillborn child soon after crossing the border.” Those sad memories still
haunt her: “I will never forget what I have gone through, but life goes on. My dream is to nish university and
learn English.”

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