Keeping Hope Alive: One Woman--90,000 Lives Changed [NOOK Book]


The moving memoir of one brave woman who, along with her daughters, has kept 90,000 of her fellow citizens safe, healthy, and educated for over 20 years in Somalia.

Dr. Hawa Abdi, "the Mother Teresa of Somalia" and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, is the founder of a massive camp for internally displaced people located a few miles from war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia. Since 1991, when the Somali government collapsed, famine struck, and aid groups fled,...
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Keeping Hope Alive: One Woman--90,000 Lives Changed

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The moving memoir of one brave woman who, along with her daughters, has kept 90,000 of her fellow citizens safe, healthy, and educated for over 20 years in Somalia.

Dr. Hawa Abdi, "the Mother Teresa of Somalia" and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, is the founder of a massive camp for internally displaced people located a few miles from war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia. Since 1991, when the Somali government collapsed, famine struck, and aid groups fled, she has dedicated herself to providing help for people whose lives have been shattered by violence and poverty. She turned her 1300 acres of farmland into a camp that has numbered up to 90,000 displaced people, ignoring the clan lines that have often served to divide the country. She inspired her daughters, Deqo and Amina, to become doctors. Together, they have saved tens of thousands of lives in her hospital, while providing an education to hundreds of displaced children.

In 2010, Dr. Abdi was kidnapped by radical insurgents, who also destroyed much of her hospital, simply because she was a woman. She, along with media pressure, convinced the rebels to let her go, and she demanded and received a written apology.

Dr. Abdi's story of incomprehensible bravery and perseverance will inspire readers everywhere.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Somali human rights activist Abdi was just a girl, her grandmother told her, "You will be the big trees that everyone comes and relaxes under," foreshadowing Abdi's role as physician and human rights advocate at her clinic and camp in rural Southern Somalia. In the 1960s, Abdi received a scholarship and free medical training in the Soviet Union. With high hopes, she returned to Somalia soon after independence from Great Britain and Italy, but quickly learned that change is not always for the better. A 1969 government overthrow set off decades of virulent clan warfare, looting and destruction, cycles of famine and drought. Despite the many accolades she has won (including a Nobel Peace Prize nomination) and the global media coverage of her successes, Abdi's tale is one of personal conflict, inside both Somalia and herself. Her courage remains steadfast in the face of perpetual turmoil: an arranged marriage at age 12, the loss of her beloved mother and grandmother, betrayal by her sisters, abandonment by her second husband, the mysterious death of her son, her clinic's capture by a group of religious fundamentalists. Her bottom-line message explains a stubbornness that transcends the years of violence and pain: "No matter where you have been, your home is still the best." (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Keeping Hope Alive is the inspiring story of how one woman educated, fed and healed thousands of the world's vulnerable in one of the most dangerous places on earth." --Angelina Jolie, Actress and Activist

"Dr. Hawa Abdi embodies the resilience, compassion, and grace of the human spirit. In this poignanttestament of her life's work, she reminds us that we are deeply interconnected and compels us to act. If we seek to create lasting peace, to preserve freedom and protect dignity, we need to stand with leaders like Dr. Abdi." --Alyse Nelson, President & CEO, Vital Voices Global Partnership

"One of the great heroes of our time, Dr. Hawa Abdi, has written a beautiful, heart-gladdening book about what she created against a tide of violence and destruction. Everyone should read this book to find the hope within themselves." --Tina Brown. Editor, Newsweek and The Daily Beast

"Dr. Hawa Abdi is the fiercest, most compassionate frontline humanitarian and doctor on the planet. She has faced the risk of near-certain death and is called Mama Hawa by the hundreds of thousands of Somali people whose lives she has saved. Her extraordinary life defies imagination and instills courage in each of us." --Eliza Griswold, Journalist and author of The Tenth Parallel

Kirkus Reviews
With the assistance of Robbins, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Abdi chronicles the ravages of the ongoing civil war in Somalia and her efforts to establish a safe haven amid the destruction. The author begins in 1960, when, at the age of 13, she witnessed the end of colonial occupation. She describes the first years of independence as a glorious time. After a border war with Ethiopia and severe drought, corruption and civil strife emerged, and people turned to their clans for protection. Violence followed as warlords clashed and rampaged across the land. "An entire generation has grown up without law and order," writes the author, providing fertile ground for Muslim fundamentalism to take hold. Against this backdrop, Abdi's accomplishments are remarkable. Although raised in a traditional male-dominated society, she liberated herself and got a formal education, receiving a scholarship abroad to train as a physician. Returning, she was one of only 60 physicians in Somalia, 35 of whom worked in the hospital to which she was assigned. She married, and she and her husband moved to land on the outskirts of Mogadishu that was owned by her family. Abdi continued working at the hospital while starting a clinic for mothers and children on the property, and her husband farmed the land. As the political condition in the country deteriorated, the farm provided food and a haven for refugees. Despite threats to her safety and her husband's desertion, she stayed and organized support from international organizations. In 2010, the enclave of the farm, which by then sheltered 91,000 people, was overrun and destroyed. She was forced to live abroad, where she continued her advocacy for the people of her homeland. A poignant account of personal bravery, love, and loss and a chronicle of the tragedy of our times.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455599295
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 910,308
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Dr. Hawa Abdi, a Somalian human rights activist, lawyer, and doctor, specializing in gynecology, founded the Doctor Hawa Abdi Foundation, which runs a hospital and school in one of the largest internally displaced persons camps in the country, offering sanctuary to nearly 90,000 people. Glamour named her "Woman of the Year" in 2010 and dubbed her and her daughters "the Saints of Somalia, equal parts Mother Teresa and Rambo." She was featured as one of the top "Women Who Shake the World" in Newsweek in 2011, was interviewed by Tina Brown at the 2011 Women in the World Summit, and this year has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite Keeping Hope Ali

    Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite

    Keeping Hope Alive is an inspirational novel by Somalian author Dr. Hawa Abdi. Sarah J. Robbins has done an excellent job of translating the book to highlight the personality and strength of the author. Dr. Abdi was born into a strong family in which education was prized for both men and women. Her mother died when the author was twelve. A forced marriage ensued but she continued to hope. Eventually she attended medical school in the then Soviet Union. Dr. Abdi returned to her native country, determined to help disadvantaged people. She initially operated in the capital Mogadishu but when the country gained independence, tribal warfare broke out. Dr. Abdi saw a great need for medical services in the flats and the bush lands and she bought substantial pieces of land in the next few years. When the Mogadishu hospital was threatened by the expanding wars, Dr. Abdi built a hospital on her land. Eventually, her refuge was called Hawa Abdi and it would house 90,000 refugees and homeless.
    What Dr. Abdi accomplished is only half of the story. Her courage and strength of character is unrivaled in its time. Her willingness to take on warlords and Muslim extremists trying to control and dehumanize women is both commendable and striking. As a traditional Muslim woman, Dr. Abdi abhorred the mutations in her own religion and she fought to treat women as equal to men. The horror of the famine and criminality of conflict in Somalia over three decades is told factually, with both the horror and the victory graphically detailed. Tradition versus equality and social progress is still a paramount problem and the reader will get both a wonderful education and a sense of awe at the ability of one woman to change what is wrong by simply doing the right thing. This unique novel details a special combination of both nurturing and warrior traits in a woman working against all odds to save a nation she loves. It captured me from the first moment and it did not let go!

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