Tunisia: Abandoned or Abused, Migrant Mothers Suffer Extreme Precariousness

maryam lahbal
maryam lahbal
3 Min Read
Migrant Mothers

In the Tunisian city of Sfax, sub-Saharan single mothers are often the most exposed to precariousness. Some of these migrants have lost their spouses in a shipwreck, and others have become pregnant after being raped during their journey. They most often find themselves with dependent children, unable to work or return to their country of origin out of shame and fear of being a burden on their family.

Yaye Oumou, a 30-year-old Guinean, arrived in Tunisia less than a year ago, accompanied by her husband with a newborn baby. Their project was to go to Europe. But nothing went as planned, because her spouse ended up leaving without her. After all, she experienced a shipwreck that traumatized her from the water.

“I said, ‘I’m scared, I want to go back now, I’m scared of the water. I told him “I want to go back home”. He said to me “How are you going to get back? Once in the country, there is no work, I have nothing to give you, and the parents have no means to support you”. One day he called me and told me he was in Italy. »

She has found refuge in emergency accommodation run by the NGO “Terre d’Asile”, just like Katalina, who is staying with her seven-month-old daughter. The father of her child abandoned her two months after the birth: “I think a lot about what I will become with a child,” says the 23-year-old Ivorian. Before her pregnancy, she did housework and was financially independent.

As Yosra Allani, “Terre d’Asile” regional coordinator, explains, migrant women find it difficult to find a job after giving birth: “Taking a child to work is not favorable, the limit they do not accept children in the workplace so generally, women with babies are women with no income. »

The NGO can only help them temporarily. In Tunis, some sub-Saharan women had set up informal crèches to help single mothers and families, but they had to close with the tightening of controls for undocumented migrants after the controversial remarks of President Kaïs Saïed.

Maryam Lahbal

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