Anki Dunnewind. Photo © Frank Uijlenbroek
Anki Dunnewind wrote a book about refugee women and decided to donate half of the revenue to organizations improving women’s positions in their countries of origin. HIRDA is one of the organizations she selected. Anki chose to support HIRDA’s Women Empowering Centres in Somalia.
Through her work at the Dutch Refugee Council, Anki got acquainted with women in vulnerable positions. Anki decided to write a book about them. In her book ‘On Bereikbaar de reis naar vrijheid en Veiligheid (Un Reachable a Journey to Freedom and Safety), she tells the life stories of four refugee women and brings the position of women in various cultures to attention.
Anki says about her book: ‘Refugee women are an especially vulnerable group, which is why it is so important that more people know about their stories. The women I interviewed are strong and resilient women who have conquered many difficult situations. They have done everything to improve their lives and those of their children. And they succeeded.’
Four women, each from a different culture, but each growing up without the self-evidence of living in a free and equal country. Anki got to know them well through her work at the Dutch Refugee Council. The bond between them enabled her to write this fascinating book.
‘I heard many gripping stories at work that inspired me to bundle them in a book. Because the position of women is still considered subordinate to that of men in many cultures, I deliberately chose to interview women. Each story accentuates a different aspect of their flight.’
Nawroz from North Irak, for example, tells about the period after her husband unexpectedly had to flee. She was pregnant and had to remain behind with her young children. Six months later she gave birth, but she had no way to share the news with her husband. Eight years later, her husband finally obtained his residence permit and the family was reunited. This was the first time he saw their youngest child.
Abagull is from Afghanistan. She narrates her dangerous journey with smugglers through parts of Asia and Europe, including an incident where her son almost drowned.
The third story is about Ceebla from Somalia. She describes the culture shock she experienced when she came to the Netherlands with a great sense of humor.
Last but not least, Isabella from Angola talks about what she calls ‘the most difficult time of my life – the years she illegally stayed in the Netherlands and was subject to exploitation.
‘On bereikbaar de reis naar vrijheid en veiligheid’ costs € 15,- and is available at the bookshop or online. It is also possible to order the book directly from Anki through firstname.lastname@example.org. In that case, the revenue will be higher.