Hawa Aden Mohamed, a former Somali refugee, returned from safety in Canada to her war-torn country to shelter and train Somalis who have fled war, famine, and violence.
Hawa Aden Mohamed won the United Nations refugee agency's Nansen Refugee Award Sept. 18 for her work in helping thousands of Somali women and girls, many of them rape victims, start new lives in their battered homeland.
Mohamed is a former Somali refugee who returned from safety in Canada to her war-torn country in 1995, launching an education program in Puntland to shelter and train Somalis who have fled war, famine, and violence, it said.
Known as "Mama Hawa," she founded the Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development, which has assisted more than 215,000 displaced and victims of violence since 1999, it said.
"In a society like Somalia, it's very often that a woman or a girl is raped, and they are severely marginalized thereafter. So what she has done is given them is a home, a new start, hope for a new life, and their dignity back," UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told a news briefing.