Profile: Mashair Shahadin – A Voice for the Internally Displaced

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Mashair is from Darfur, Sudan, and believes that all children and women deserve equal opportunity to a dignified life. Darfur has largest camps for displaced populations in the country, and she works to ensure that all internally displaced women and children are granted these basic human rights.

In 2002, Mashair came in contact with a child named Abdallah. He was only 2-years-old, and was internally displaced from western Sudan where a large civil war between the rebels and the government has been going on for over a decade. Abdallah and his grandmother were one of 200 families that were placed in camps in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. He was in severe medical condition because his mother had been raped and killed by Janjaweed, and the Janjaweed soldier picked him up by his feet and hit him against a tree.

Mashair was working with an organization to provide humanitarian aid for these displaced populations when she met Abdallah and brought him to the hospital. Doctors said he did not have a good chance of survival, and when she returned to the camp the next day to check on him, the camp had been evacuated – but chances are he did not survive.

The sad story of Abdallah is not uncommon for displaced populations; he is only one of the thousands of children harmed due to this war. Mashair is calling for help in the community to stop the violence. She is reaching out to the Sudanese government and rebels to negotiate to stop the violence and promote policies for human rights and child protection. It is the duty of everyone to help these women and children have equal opportunity for a dignified life and bring peace to Sudan.

Mashair is the mother of three, and she envisions a brighter future for her children with an end to the civil war and a progressive new society focused on protecting its women and children, the future of our society, so that they may live a dignified and productive life.

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