Hope for Somalia

First of all I would like to thank the IKEA Foundation for the opportunity I was given to attend the NANSEN award ceremony. Along with me were also my colleagues from Slovakia, Hungary, Sweden, Germany and representatives from the IKEA Foundation. I believe that for all of us it was a tremendous experience. This knowledge that we have gained we will bear for very long time.

The Nansen Refugee Award is awarded by UNHCR (the United Nations Refugee Agency) annually.

Headquarters of UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)
Headquarters of UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)
IKEA co-workers and the IKEA Foundation team in front of the United Nations
IKEA co-workers and the IKEA Foundation team in front of the United Nations

This year’s winner is Hawa Aden Mohamed, who is known as “Mama Hawa”. Unfortunately due to her illness she couldn’t attend the official ceremony. She was represented by her sister Shukri Mohamed Aden.

IKEA co-workers Anita (from Hungary) and Jana (from Slovakia) during the ceremony
IKEA co-workers Anita (from Hungary) and Jana (from Slovakia) during the ceremony
Shukri Aden Mohamed (sister of the winner)
Shukri Aden Mohamed (sister of the winner)

On the second day we had the opportunity to meet her personally. This moment has left a profound impression inside me. It was an incredibly interesting meeting. She told us about the work of Mama Hawa, her relentless fight for women and children in impoverished Somalia.

Interesting meeting with UNHCR team
Interesting meeting with UNHCR team

Mama Hawa is the founder and director of an educational program in Galkayo. She helps women and girls in understanding their rights, helps them to stand on their own feet and to participate in society. Sister Shukri told us about their family, about their wonderful parents. Also, she talked about the importance of good education, which is the future of Somalia.

Mama Hawa and her sister are extraordinary women, who deserve huge admiration and respect.

Adéla Josková