She is far from two homes: her country and her family's home, living in a deserted area, without family or a husband or a son. However, once you see her, you would never think she is alone. She walks in the camp blocks, greetings elders and then children, smiling and smiling back, spreading love to each one even if they do not give this love back. I would call her the second Mother Teresa , the refugees' angel on earth.
I first met Nusaiba in 2006 as we both work with the same agency. Further, it was her kind giving nature that inspired me and eventually I had the desire to write about her.
Nusaiba, a 35-year-old woman, works in a refugee camp in Yemen. She was born in Sudan and later moved to several cities with her family, due to her father shifting as a teacher, before they settled in Yemen. She studied in both Sudanese and Yemeni school , which gave her a spectacular opportunity to be exposed to both cultures and norms and even each community’s needs. Thus, eventually, she discovered her passion.
After finishing college, she started working as a volunteer social counselor in a humanitarian agency. She worked with underprivileged, marginalized groups, with a focus on women and children in Sana'a city. Then, after a little while, and because of her dedicated work, she became an employee at the same post with more duties. Besides being a social counselor, she became a trainer of kindergarten teachers for schools located in the disadvantaged areas of the city.
After that, she worked as a first grade teacher. She enjoyed being with kids, teaching and playing with them. It was her first step to discovering her passion towards children. She worked as a teacher for two years before reaching a turning point in her life. It was a brave step to change her career and the location she worked in for a long time to a place that she never thought of before.
Abandoning urban cities, Nusaiba chose to be a mystic in rural area. She accepted a job in a refugee camp ,away from modernization, technology, street billboards, and even further away from her family. She worked with another humanitarian agency, working in social development as a social counselor in refugee camp.The refugees, she works with, come to Yemen from the African horn, mainly from Somalia and Ethiopia through the sea, where the camp is located in a remote area far from the city. She visited refugees in their homes, spoke with them, listened to their needs and tried to assist them. Women’s issues caught her attention again, leading her to take on the responsibility of working to end sexual and gender based violence against women refugees. This intersectionality of refugee women enriched Nusaiba's thoughts and efforts to do more and be ambitious in helping to empowering those women.
Now, after 5-year career in community development field, Nusaiba has widened her target group to include children, unaccompanied minors, elders, and people with disabilities, as well as women. She holds a senior position in a social team as she proves her credibility to assist different categories in refugees' community and work collectively with a group. In this position, she expands her activities as she conducts trainings, events, celebrations, and competitions in the community she serves. This has made her aware of where she wants to be in the future, in her career and her life.
Currently, Nusaiba conducts community activities, focusing on children’s programs, awareness raising, and rights training. She finds her passion in training as she likes to educate people about their rights, especially refugees' rights.
The person who meets Nusaiba will find that she never speaks about herself. She always speaks about people and their needs and how to improve their lives. She feels that it is our role to assist in empowering weakened women. Thus, even when she goes to visit her family on holidays, she tells them stories about the community she works in, about their struggle, and how we should feel blessed about the privilege of families and things that we obtain compared to what refugees have.
Nusaiba's goal in life is obvious, as she cares about people around her. "I want to help people and be a professional trainer in Human rights and refugees rights to be able to raise awareness," she says.
This is Nusaiba, a brave Sudanese woman living in Yemen, working with refugees. She is a different woman, preferring to be with people in need rather than being an elite. Moreover, helping people is not an easy task for anyone, but she chose to help refugees who have a doubled need. With much gratitude for life, Nusaiba continues to do her job, the job that she loves.
This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 30 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most unheard regions of the world.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future 2011 Assignment: Profiles.