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According to the latest refugee statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR 2011), the number of people forcibly displaced worldwide has reached 43.7 million, the highest number in 15 years. Roughly 80% of this population are women and children. Afghanistan continues to be the place of origin for the largest number of refugees under UNHCR responsibility across the globe. From 1979 to 1990, the largest and most enduring forced migration in human history occurred when 6.2 million Afghans were displaced and fled their homeland to neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and Iran. During the processes of conflict, upheaval, exile, and resettlement, refugee women face numerous traumatic events and are exposed to various challenges at every stage of their refugee journey. Very little scholarly research has examined their strengths and resiliency during this time. The primary purpose of this study is to provide insight into the challenges that Afghan refugee women have faced during pre-migration, exile, and resettlement. Specifically, this inquiry using feminist theory and method examines (a) their experiences in all three contexts in which they have lived and managed, (b) the significant roles that they have played, and (c) the coping mechanisms that they have used to overcome the problems in these situations. The sample for this interpretive qualitative research was drawn from Afghan refugee women in the city of Hamilton and the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada. The study was conducted with six in-depth, semi-structured interviews. The results provide contextually laden detail of the Afghan refugee women’s unique lived experiences. The results revealed Afghan refugee women as resilient and as strong leaders. The dominant discourse that portrays Afghan women as weak and oppressed should be challenged. Implications for social work practice, education and policy are identified, and recommendations for improved services are outlined. Master of Social Work (MSW)
Rosmin, B.M. (2011). Resiliency amidst the fragmented lives of Afghan refugee women.
Graduate Thesis - Masters