Paving new paths in Libya

Alia Bassam Zaki
May 19, 2017 · 3 min read

WFP supports a Libyan single mother feeding her daughters’ dreams.

Sometimes life puts us in tough situations that force us to abandon our previous plans and seek out new ones. It takes courage, hope, and ambition. It takes a steadfast woman like Randa Mohamed, a mother of two from Libya, whose drive and dedication are great examples for her daughters and girls around the world.

Image for post
Image for post
Randa and her daughters had to leave their home and dreams behind to find safety in Tripoli. Photo: UN/Habiba Gammoudi

Life dealt Randa a tough divorce. Soon after, the conflict in Libya reached her hometown and she had to flee with her daughters to seek safety in Tripoli. Her only priority now is to make sure that 21-year-old Khadiga and 15-year-old Salwa can still build the future they want for themselves.

“All I want is for my girls not to feel like they need anything. Society says that being without a man is like being without a backbone, but I say a strong woman can be and do everything on her own.”

The circumstances put Randa’s words to the test. Her eldest daughter Khadiga had to drop out of her school when it was bombed in 2012. In her family’s quest for safety, she had to give up her dream of studying Computer Science. Randa had taught her daughters that to survive one must be flexible and adapt to anything. These lessons guided Khadiga’s decision to pursue something that would have a bigger impact in the country’s current situation.

“One day Khadiga told me she wanted to become a nurse. There is a center nearby that offers training, so I encouraged her to go for it.”

Image for post
Image for post
For Randa, feeding her daughters’ dreams is an investment in the future. Photo: UN/Habiba Gammoudi

Five years of armed conflict have caused Libya’s health system to collapse. As the country struggles to develop its own national nursing workforce, strong-willed and ambitious young women like Khadiga are much needed.

Having to abandon their home and move to Tripoli has had major consequences on Randa’s family. Most of the income from her day job cleaning at the local clinic goes towards paying rent and her daughters’ education, leaving little to nothing for other expenses, including food and medicine. WFP provides food assistance to families like Randa’s to make sure no one has to choose between eating and having a roof over their head.

For Randa, her daughters’ education is a vital investment in her family and the future of Libya. Sharing what little she has is her way of upholding traditional Libyan generosity, another core value she tries to instill in her daughters.

As long as there is food on the table and a place to sleep, she believes it should be shared. That’s why they always welcome relatives into their home.

“A simple meal brings comfort in the midst of chaos, and happiness when shared.”

WFP is facing a severe lack of funding for its operation in Libya. You can help us continue providing food assistance to families like Randa’s. Donate here.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store