“Mothers Away from Motherland”, Motherʼs Day panel organized by “Set Them Free”and “Atlantic Institute”, had a spotlight on the current situation of Turkish women incarcerated in prisons in Turkey – many with their children – without indictments while embracing the stories of all mothers around the world who have had to find safety for their children away from their homelands.
Beside the three panelists from different communities a video call with a Turkish refugee mom in Greece took place within the event. She talked about her experiences and also about another refugee mom who passed away two weeks ago leaving three kids behind. Set Them Free Atlanta Coordinator Hafsa Girdap told the audience that they would dedicate the program to the memory of that young mom, Esma Uludag.
It was also moving to bring an InterPlay activity offered by Christine Nichols Gautreaux and Ruth Schowaltar at the end of the shared stories of the refugee mothers.
Sophia Pandya, the moderator of the panel, gave a presentation about the impact of political turmoils on women. She also drew attention to the fact that more women suffer in wars or in conflict zones than men do.
Here are some highlights from the panelists:
Karenina Campos from Peru: “If it wasnʼt for my mum we could not manage to succeed in a new life here.”
Saadia Mohamed Kelli from Syria:
“I did everything for my children to have good education here and this idea empowered me the most.” “I always said to my children not to get scared of these people here, and just to be nice.”
Zubeyde Katar from Turkey (about her children who are still in Turkey): “I miss them a lot.” “We are not terrorists, we have always done whatever we could for the sake of humanity.”
Birgul Koca (a Turkish refugee in Greece): “I am a mother and while struggling with the biggest challenges it was my children and most importantly my fate what has strengthened me the most!”
The program finished with a calligraphy performance by a refugee mother.
**“Emin Demiral, Set Them Free Atlanta Art Director, interviewing Sophia Pandya and Lee Dehihns”