International Migrants Day: The young refugee women spreading hope and acceptance

Published 18th December 2020

Shaima is a young refugee woman from Afghanistan.

GMD was born in Angola and dreams of becoming a civil engineer.

Sumia is 19 and from Balochistan, a region divided among Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. She loves art and trying new things.

Together these three young women are spreading hope and acceptance at a time when we need it most, as millions in the UK prepare for tougher restrictions amid rising COVID-19 cases, and on International Migrants Day.

“I hope the new year (2021) start with lots of joys and a life filled with happiness. May this new year bring a peaceful and healthy life.” – Shaima, a young Afghan refugee

Sumia, GMD, and Shaima have been taking part in online education and wellbeing workshops run by the British Red Cross and supported by Doctors of the World.

Through this partnership, we aim to improve the health of young refugees and asylum-seeking children and increase their confidence in accessing health services in the UK.

With Christmas and a new year upon us, we asked Sumia, GMD, and Shaima to share their hopes for 2021 and to use their artistic skills to create illustrations to support their words.


“My love for arts became when I was younger. I used to express my feelings and also try something new,” said GMD.

“For 2021 I hope the situation we are in ends – meaning no coronavirus anymore, and that we have an opportunity to continue do what we love and that maybe I find a place that I can learning more drawings.”

By Sumia

“Blessing for the new year. Time for another year to begin. The year will be gone, and we will start again. As the new year begins stay focussed on your goals and let your attitude be happy, keep your position, and be encouraging to others. Happy new year,” wrote Sumia.

Sumia submitted not just one but three illustrations. She hopes to become a professional artist.

By Sumia

December 18 is International Migrants Day, a chance to reflect on the challenges migrants face and their contributions to societies everywhere.

COVID-19 has clearly shown the vital role migrants play and how we can all benefit from making them feel welcome.

Sumia, Shaima, and GMD have displayed courage, strength, and resilience in overcoming adversity to live a better life. Just like the migrant couple who developed the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine and the key workers keeping our hospitals and essential businesses running.

We hope that you’ll join us in celebrating these three extraordinary women and all migrants by sharing their messages of hope and acceptance with your friends and family.

By Sumia

With your support, Doctors of the World will make sure nobody suffers or dies due to lack of access to healthcare.