Faces of Hope

Meet the brave women refugees from Bosnia, Congo, and Afghanistan who are not defined by tragedy … but by courage.

September 21, 2011 12:00 PM

Madina Naderi

Madina Naderi, 18, has grown up surrounded by conflict in Afghanistan. Now in high school, she likes painting her hands with intricate henna patterns and hopes to be a doctor.


Wahida, 33, was forced to marry an Afghan warlord at age 16. "I hope to see my five children educated," she says.

Georgette M'Batumike

Georgette M'Batumike, 34, was raped by Congolese rebels, who then killed her husband. She hopes for a better future for her four children.

Fatuma Mushinga

Fatuma Mushinga, 28, lives in the shadow of conflict in Congo. She makes pottery and tiles, and wants to expand her business.

Mastorra Rashidi

Mastorra Rashidi, 20, grew up amid war in Afghanistan. She hopes to be a teacher.

Claudine Barhalibiru

Claudine Barhalibiru, 36, was beaten by an abusive husband and brutally raped by a Congolese rebel. A mother of eight, she now lives with her own mother, and plans to start a small business.

Samra Mulic

Samra Mulic, 21, survived her childhood in Bosnia as war raged around her. Now married for a year to a butcher, she hopes to get a job of her own and start a family.

Furaha Hamuli

Furaha Hamuli, 26, is a mother of four who lives amid conflict in Congo. She left her husband after he infected her with HIV, and wants to learn a trade.

Francine Imani M'Muzusa

Francine Imani M'Muzusa, 20, a single mother of two, wants peace in Congo — and straight teeth!

Mersija Topic

Mersija Topic, 30, lost two brothers in the war in Bosnia. A divorced mother of one, she lives with her parents and wants to become independent.

Maida Gul

Maida Gul, 45, a mother of three, lost her husband in a bombing in Afghanistan. "I want to see peace in my country," she says.

Nabintu M'Kahukula

Nabintu M'Kahukula, 29, was enslaved and raped for three months by Congolese rebels. Afterward, her husband left her. She hopes to learn job skills and educate her four children.


Shakiba, 35, lives on a farm with her husband and six children, as conflict roars around her in Afghanistan. "My greatest dream is to raise my children in a peaceful environment," she says.

Want to help? You can sponsor a woman in a war zone for a year. $30 a month will provide her with basic necessities and job training — and you can get to know her personally, too, by exchanging letters throughout the year. Sign up at womenforwomen.org.