Nesrin was brought up in Germany by a Turkish father and a German mother . She studied political science, law and history of the Middle East and went on to study Arabic in Syria before the war, when the country was newly being discovered as tourist destination having been politically isolated for a long time.
“As a girl you are taught how to behave like a girl, how to sit, have etiquettes etc. My grandmother would wish for me to marry a guy with a good job to have a good future. But I always wanted to be able to provide for myself, an independent woman.”
Admitting that she is both shy and introverted — Nesrin spoke of following her curiosity, passion, and wonder which led her to live and work in Syria, South Eastern Turkey, Bangladesh, and Egypt being part of emergency responses for thousands of refugees.
“In years of working with refugees and observing them in different contexts, you see huge desperation! You can hardly imagine how exhausted some women arrive. On foot for days, with luggage on your back, small children by the hand. I have seen a mother in her worst moment having lost two of her children to a landmine at a border crossing. Most have experienced extreme losses, violence and worse. But it’s amazing to witness how quickly these women take on the lead and find the strength to adapt to their new life, new role and making the best of their circumstances not only for themselves but also for their families’
“Seeing all what I have, I often think of the kind of role models we are pushing for young girls and women. Role models are presented as someone necessarily loud and outspoken, and fearless. But, sometimes I fear that in our well-intentioned messaging for more assertive, outspoken girls, we’ve sometimes made those whose style is naturally quieter and less showy feel as if they aren’t real role models.”
On Women’s Day Let’s all celebrate our, and each other’s strengths today. Loud voices magnifying quiet ones. Quiet voices spreading the word of loud ones. Women together, with one mission.