Imagine you live in a village where armed men suddenly arrive to kill its inhabitants. Imagine that your children can’t go to school because reaching it exposes them to enormous risks.

Imagine you face a deadly journey only to reach a safe place for you and your loved ones, hoping that you will find peace. Imagine you walk kilometers or you board an unsafe vessel simply because you want to seek sanctuary after your home was destroyed.

Imagine you live in an overcrowded camp where everything is complicated. It is difficult to find clean water, to feed your family, to vaccinate your children and protect them from diseases that might further deteriorate their health.

Imagine you spend your life in the constant fear that your children will go missing or in a moment of distraction your daughter will be abused.

Imagine you are abused and become pregnant after sexual violence. Imagine you decide to keep the baby because children are innocent and they are not responsible if they come to life in a world that doesn’t welcome them or respect their rights properly.

Unfortunately, this is the daily life of too many mothers who live in the constant fear of losing their children.

A Rohingya mother with her son waiting to receive medical assistance at one of our MOAS’ Aid Stations in Bangladesh

My wish on Mother’s Day is that we will be able to understand how difficult motherhood can be for a woman who has lost everything, who has seen her husband killed and is now solely responsible for her children in adverse living conditions.

On board the Phoenix, both in the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea, and on land with our two Aid Stations in Shamlapur and Unchiprang, Bangladesh, I had the chance to experience first-hand the courage of mothers who never give up.

So, my thoughts are with every single mother who had to hide her despair to become a perennial source of hope, with every single mother who daily had to reiterate her determination to protect her family from unspeakable violence and hardships and had to abandon her weakness because life has forced her to overcome all sorts of obstacles.

My thoughts are also with all the mothers who understand the pain and courage necessary to build a family and protect it from adversities, even though they have never gone through extreme situations.

This is why I am thankful to the big MOAS family, to our team and to our donors and supporters who help us to help those in need through their continuous support. Thanks to them, every day many mothers can be treated and can have a decent and safe pregnancy, delivery and post-delivery assistance. Thanks to them the sons and daughters of these mothers can find a welcoming place where someone takes care of their health and they can receive a respectful welcoming and the medical attention they need.

This year, more than ever, we need the help of all the people who believe in MOAS’ cause and commitment to mitigating the suffering of the most vulnerable world’s migrant and refugee communities since 2014. Now we are working in Bangladesh to provide medical assistance and keep hope alive in the persecuted Rohingya people that live after fleeing violence and persecution.