What might a mother risk
to save her child from harm?

Mothers in conflict zones like northern Nigeria are faced with unbearable dilemmas when it comes to keeping their children safe. Every choice has life-changing consequences, like the one faced by Kaltouma.

Her village, Kawa, was attacked by fighters. Many people were killed. Kaltouma and the other mothers in the village were in an impossible situation. Fearing for their lives, they decided to flee but they couldn’t take everyone.

There was no time to lose, and the journey ahead would be dangerous.

Every person who fled the village had lost a relative at the hands of the fighters. Having left everything behind, the stakes could not have been higher for Kaltouma, her children, and the other families. She led them on an incredible, five-night journey across borders, quickly adapting to surviving life on the road.

Kaltouma and the others crossed rivers under the cover of darkness, using floating grasses to get across. Although they had escaped the imminent threat of the fighters, they encountered more hostility on their journey. No one would take them in or help them, mistaking them for fighters.

Learn more about mothers like Kaltouma.

"It was a matter of saving
the lives of my children".


Kaltouma and the others eventually arrived at Baga Sola, in Chad where they have been ever since. The ICRC helped them with assistance and money when they arrived so they could buy food from the market.

Kaltouma left everything behind for her children, now she needs help to provide for them in a new home.

Kaltouma and other mothers living in conflict zones make dangerous journeys because their children's lives depend on it. And because it's #WhatMothersDo.

This was the story of Kaltouma.

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