A tribute to strong women

The author, JRS intern, F with her mother-in-law and baby

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. In our culture, we also have a significant celebration for women. The birth date of Prophet Mohammad’s daughter (Fatima-e-Zahra) is called Mother and Women’s day. This year we decided to celebrate my mother-in-law’s life – for all she has gone through as a widow of 25 years.

She is an Afghan refugee, in a foreign country without any identification documents or citizenship rights. Amazingly, she managed to singlehandedly bring up her four children. She still carries a great deal of sadness in her heart because of all the hardships she has endured. Her greatest sadness is the horrible death of her youngest daughter in Afghanistan at the age of 24 years old.

For the celebration this year, we bought a cake and gift with the money that I saved. This was the first time that we could afford it since we became asylum seekers. I will never forget the kindness the JRS Singapore community has shown me. This internship has helped me learn a lot and the allowance is really important for my family financially. I never expected anything much but you gave it anyway. It is more than just the allowance; what I received was your heart felt gesture which I will treasure forever.

Now that I am a mother, I want to make sure I am strong for my son, bring him up so that one day he too can be a person who shows kindness to anyone who needs help.