This Mother’s Day, why not purchase a gift that supports other moms? In this post, I want to introduce you to two women who are some of the bravest, most hard-working women I know: Roushan, and her sister, Khadija.
I met my friend Roushan about a year ago, at a library event in town. People gathered there to meet local immigrants and to listen as they shared stories about their rich cultures. Roushan wasn’t speaking that night – she was selling handmade scarves. But I knew she had given a presentation before, so we asked if she would speak at our church. She’s from Syria and we wanted to hear her story. We were trying to better understand the refugee crisis and we wanted to learn how we could help.
Roushan came to the US with her husband and daughter after they were granted political asylum in 2012. Her extended family was not so fortunate. Years later, desperate to escape war, Roushan’s entire family fled unspeakable conditions in Aleppo, Syria. On the morning of the family’s departure, her sister Khadija realized her husband was missing and she would not leave without him. Days later, when her family had left and her opportunity to flee had passed, she learned her husband had been killed by ISIS. Devastated, alone and responsible for her young children, Khadija left Syria and walked for two days without food or water. Her final destination was a Turkish refugee camp. What was once a very close, tight-knit family living in community, was now scattered and traumatized by war.
To keep her sanity and to support her children, Khadija made and sold beautiful handmade scarves. She worked her way out of the refugee camp and into an apartment. And later she was able to earn enough money to send her kids to school. Now she makes other items such as bags and pillowcases too.