Amidst Chaos and Conflict: Hind’s Story of Hope

The civil war in Sudan has exacted a heavy toll, claimed nearly 16,000 lives, and displaced over 8.6 million people as of April 2024. The conflict has left 25 million individuals in urgent need of assistance, with severe hunger affecting 18 million. Approximately 53% of the internally displaced are women and girls. Despite having lost livelihoods and family members, Sudanese women have become the backbone of society.


World Widows Day graphic

Hind, a mother of four from Bahri in Khartoum, provides a heartbreaking personal story of the devastating consequences of the war. "When the conflict began, my family and I were in our home," Hind recalls. "We could hear the distant sounds of fighting in the city. My husband, foreseeing the danger, urged us to stay indoors. For about a week, we remained sheltered, but as the violence escalated my husband insisted we seek refuge in the suburb of Hajj Youssef, east of the city, alongside others fleeing people."

Life in the Hajj Youssef area offered only temporary respite. With conditions deteriorating rapidly and overcrowding concerns, Hind and her husband split up after about a month and a half. She joined her mother and sister in Port Sudan while her husband went to Al Jazira where his extended family stayed. 

Tragedy struck when Hind's husband fell ill in early June 2023. His health deteriorated rapidly, exacerbated by the lack of medical care amid the chaos, and despite the family’s efforts to obtain treatments from relatives in Saudi Arabia, he passed away.

The loss was a devastating blow. "I was at the bus station, preparing to reunite with him, when I received the news of his death, it was a shock beyond words, leaving my children and me adrift in grief and uncertainty." Hind and her children stayed in Port Sudan for 4 months waiting for an Egyptian Visa.

During this time, Hind received psychological support from The Women Awareness Group (Awoon), one of UN Women's main partners in Red Sea State, eastern  Sudan. Awoon is working on providing intensive psychological and legal support to Internally displaced women and girls in special situations.

Hind and her family got the visas, however the financing to resettle in Egypt continued to be a challenge. Hind continues telling of her tragedy “My husband and I were working before the war, but our salaries are very basic and not enough for me and my children (workers’ salaries). After his death, his salary from the Ministry of Health became the property of his heirs, and access to money was very difficult at that time. Thanks to God, I traveled to Egypt with the help of one of my brothers” she told us.

Educating her children became Hind's priority. She enrolled them in local schools despite financial constraints so that they could complete their education, stand on their own feet, and make it easier for her in the future. Hind juggled manual labor work and baking simple products to make ends meet, but resources were scarce.

“After my husband's death, I've had many conversations with my children to help them understand our new reality. As a working woman, I've strived to fulfill their wishes. However, everything we had built together with their father vanished suddenly. My husband, who had a heart condition, had ambitious plans to secure our future. He always reassured me, saying, ‘I don't want you to suffer if I die one day.’ Losing him and his dreams so prematurely has been incredibly hard.”

Bureaucratic hurdles in obtaining refugee status and documentation, limited resources, and scarce job opportunities for foreigners in Egypt are also one of the main challenges for Hind and many others who have escaped the way in Sudan. “Life has become incredibly difficult, and my only hope is an end to this war so we can return safely to our home country.” Hind laments.

Hind's story underscores the situation of millions affected by conflict worldwide, particularly the widows and refugees striving to rebuild shattered lives. Awoon collaborates with UN Women to help women and girls with special cases and needs and the support that UN Women gives to the women of Sudan through partners like Awoon is key because widows with children considering are the most vulnerable women in Sudan especially after the war. Through internal funding support, UN Women Sudan and Awoon, a member of the Red Sea state "Women Situation Room", continue efforts to support women during the war.