From where I stand: “We could be heroines, and we can create peace”

Islamia N. Kamakan, 28, is a mother and new entrepreneur from the Bangsamoro region of the southern Philippines. Her family fled fighting in another village, walking three days without food, to live in the Buayan community.

Date: Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Islamia and her son in their new community. Photo: UN Women/Joser Dumbrique
Islamia and her son in their new community. Photo: UN Women/Joser Dumbrique

When I was younger, we lived in another community. But when a conflict arose between groups, we had to be evacuated [from our home]. Since my father had passed, my mother was taking care of all eight of us children. We had to get out of our house while there was an encounter taking place. While we were walking, the rebels were still there, fighting. But thank God, none of us got injured.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t bring any clothes. We even left without our food. We were on the road for three days. We had nothing to eat. Our mother didn’t even have a slipper. None of us had anything, but we kept walking.

When the [fighting] stopped, we went to Buayan. They say that armed conflict here is rare, but sometimes it happens. And only just recently, we had to hide because there were some encounters here.

Before I joined The Moropreneur Inc.’s training, I thought that women should only stay in the house and that their only role was to raise children. But now I learned that women can do much more than that. Women are an important part of the community and the country. We could be heroines, and we can create peace. As for me, I know how to address and resolve conflict now. If my husband is in conflict with another man, I will ask him: ‘what will happen to our family and to other people?’

I have only one child, a son. He is going to turn 5 years old soon. Taking care of a child in this environment is very challenging. I hope that we will have a peaceful community, because I don't want my son to experience what I have gone through before.”

SDG 5: Gender equality SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Islamia is a mother and entrepreneur from the Philippines who received skills trainings to start her own craft business and to learn about peace and conflict resolution through the Empowered Women, Peaceful Communities programme run by UN Women and implemented by The Moropreneur Inc. (TMI). Islamia’s story relates to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, which aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, and Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment.