IRIS-Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services

A Sudanese Woman’s Resilience

© Nusaibah Shatta | May 23, 2024

My name is Nusaibah, and today I stand before you not just as a Sudanese mother, but as a woman whose heart is heavy with the burden of our nation’s trials and tribulations. When I was asked to participate in this event, I didn’t fully grasp its significance. But at the mere mention of Sudanese women’s resilience, something stirred within me—a flame of hope amidst the darkness.

As Sudanese women, we are nurtured with an indomitable spirit, instilled with pride for our heritage, and inspired by the legacy of our ancestors—the mighty “Kandakas” who ruled with strength and grace. Their resilience echoes through the ages, reminding us that in the face of adversity, we can rise.

The horrors of war have etched themselves into the very fabric of my being. The anguish of not knowing whether my loved ones would see another day, the fear that gripped my heart, and the helplessness that threatened to consume me—it’s a pain I carry with me every moment. And even as I’ve ensured the safety of my family, the weight of survivor’s guilt bears down on me, knowing that countless others continue to suffer.

Every night, as I close my eyes, memories of my homeland flood my mind like a relentless tide. I long for the streets of my childhood, the laughter of friends, and the warmth of community. But amidst these yearnings, a haunting question looms: will we ever truly find our way home?

The senseless violence tearing through our society is a wound that refuses to heal. Instead of nurturing unity, it has sown seeds of division, costing us the lives of our loved ones. It’s a tragedy that cuts to the core of our collective identity, a betrayal of everything we hold dear. Yet, in the depths of despair, there is a glimmer of hope—a hope for reconciliation, for unity, for a brighter tomorrow.

Together, hand in hand, let us demand an end to this cycle of destruction. Let us honor the legacy of our foremothers, the Kandakas, by embodying their resilience and courage. And let us dare to envision a Sudan where peace reigns supreme, where children can grow without fear, and where the dreams of generations past are finally realized.

For Sudan, for our children, for the generations yet to come—let us dare to dream of a better tomorrow. And let us believe that with the resilience of Sudanese women leading the way, our nation will never again face such darkness.

—Nusaibah Shatta, Fellowship Director, Havenly

Nusaibah Shatta is originally from Sudan and holds a bachelor’s degree in Science. She worked as an Arabic interpreter since 2016 at hospitals and public service settings, where she became passionate about working with refugees and immigrants, especially women. She has also volunteered with IRIS since 2016 as an Arabic interpreter. In Sudan, she volunteered to help women in crisis alongside various nonprofit organizations. She originally shared the above speech at Sudanese Women’s Resilience, 5/11/24, New Haven, CT.

Take action for Sudan:
Sign the “Speak Out on Sudan” Petition, which urges President Biden to mobilize international support for Sudanese civilians. Or Write to your elected officials, with the Sudan Action template here.

Donate to Sudanese humanitarian organizations:
Sudan Relief Fund, Sudanese-American Physicians’ Association (SAPA). Provides healthcare & hunger relief programs for those displaced within Sudan & refugees from Darfur who’ve fled to Chad.
Sandagaat, a community-based organization providing social services in Sudan.
Hadreen, a Sudanese NGO that provides orphan support, food, water & sanitation programs.

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