Woman of Interest: Somali Doctor and Human Rights Activist Dr. Hawa Abdi
I’ve been wanting to write about the woman who many rightfully call the “Mother Theresa” of Somalia for a while now, Dr. Hawa Abdi. Not only is Hawa one of my absolute favorite names (being that of my late sister, bless her soul, and this blog’s eponymous name as well), but the woman is truly one incredible lady! And when I stumbled across her new memoir, entitled “Keeping Hope Alive: One Woman, 90,000 Lives Changed“, I just could not contain myself. It is thanks to women like Dr. Hawa Abdi that Somalia has been able to rise from its ashes of deadly war and conflict. As a young doctor, at the height of the conflict in Somalia back in 1991, Dr. Abdi was running a small clinic with her family in her own farm located south of the capital Mogadishu. Over time, and as the war kept on, the farm grew from a small clinic to a full-fledged 400-bed hospital, and then, as time went on, to a sizable refugee camp welcoming over 90,000 (yes, you read right, 90,000!) displaced Somalis!
Her camp and hospital have been nicknamed Hawa Village, and became the oasis that many who had nothing to their names went to to find peace and refuge. And this woman, with her skill, courage and determination, waged an incredible battle to maintain her establishment and the safety of those who came to her.Today, her legacy is carried on by her own daughter, Deqo Mohamed, also a doctor trained in the US and Russia, who decided to go back to Somalia at the end of her studies to continue her mother’s work.
Last year, Dr. Hawa Abdi received the 2012 Women of Impact Award from the Women of the World foundation for her life work battling famine, murder, disease and rape in Somalia, and this year, she was back at the Women of the World Summit in New York to speak about the necessity to empower women in Somalia and in the rest of the developing countries.
Thank you so much Dr. Abdi! Please take a listen…