Two migrants hugging | Credit: Hmouzi/IOM Libya
Two migrants hugging | Credit: Hmouzi/IOM Libya

A worker with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) told the story of meeting a female migrant in a Libyan detention centre who was a nurse. The worker said despite all the difficulties, the nurse helped other migrants in the centre.

Mohammad Ibrahim Al-Hmouzi, who works as a Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) Operations Assistant with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Libya, told the story of a detained migrant who was a nurse and helped other migrants being held in detention centres on the organisation's blog

Of the woman, he said that "even if 10 or 15 years go by, I believe I will still be able to recognize her from her eyes and the look she has in them." 

Giving help with nothing in return 

"On a hot summers day this June, we were on a work assignment in the Libyan city of Zintan. I was there to support our team and collect audiovisual material on our work and to document the needs of migrants that are held in detention centres," Al-Hmouzi wrote. "A woman, between 28 and 30 years of age, caught my attention. Women from every corner of the detention centre were coming to her, throwing their arms around her, with warm hugs and tears," he said. "In the eyes of this woman I saw the faces of all the women living inside the detention centres - I saw desperation and sadness." 

Al-Hmouzi said he approached the woman and discovered that she was a nurse who had worked for a brief period of time in Mali. She had been in Libya for almost a year, moving around from one detention centre to another. In each of these locations, she provided some kind of care to migrants, especially to women, acting as a midwife, helping with what she could find. 

"With her simple tools, humanitarian spirit and good heart, she gave whatever help she could to these women asking for nothing in return," he wrote. 

Inspiration for doing more 

Al-Hmouzi said the nurse also needed care, and so after she had spent much time in Libyan detention centres, she was returning to her home country with the assistance of IOM. "People were crying out of happiness that she was leaving the detention centre but also out of sadness that they were being left behind," he said."I saw one lady, whom she had assisted with her delivery only a few days ago, go down on her knees: 'Please don't go, please. Stay here with me. Help me.'" 

The nurse left the detention centre, traveling from Zintan to Tripoli, where she met other migrants from Mali returning home. "With her selfless and loving spirit, she was able to do a lot for those migrant women and inspired me to do more and strive to be better in my work," Al-Hmouzi said. 

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