By Open Doors 1 May 2023 4 MIN

The Strength of a Mother’s Love

Helping Persecuted Families Thrive

She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. – Proverbs 31:20

Mothers carry immense responsibility.

They not only carry their children in their bodies; they carry them in their hearts.

Mothers around the world are carrying their families through suffering and persecution for their faith in Jesus. Mothers like Anahed in Iraq.

Anahed used to live in the Iraqi city of Baghdad, where she was a teacher at an elementary school.


“In 2006 my husband was kidnapped by a group of Islamic terrorists. The terrorists came to our house. They said to me that, because he is Christian, I must pay a ransom for his release.”

“We paid the ransom, but they never gave him back.”

When women like Anahed are left alone to support their families in a country like Iraq, they often struggle to get the support they need in their home countries. Female refugees are particularly vulnerable to a combination of religious and gender specific persecution.

According to Open Doors Gender Report 2022, Christian women fleeing Islamic State risk being subject to forced marriage, sexual violence, human trafficking, and kidnapping. With her husband gone, Anahed risked losing everything that was once normal for her, putting both herself and her children in danger.

Anahed waited almost ten years for her husband to return. “For a long time, I kept hope that I would see him again, that my kids would see their father again. But I never heard from him again,” she says, with tears in her eyes.

Meanwhile, the situation for Christians in Baghdad was getting worse. “It’s now very dangerous for believers to live there. There are lots of kidnappings, murders, and bombings. We couldn’t stay there any longer, so we sought refuge in Jordan. At least my children are safe here.”

She hopes to eventually find a new country to settle in with her family, but this process can be expensive, and it may take years. “When we moved here, it was very hard; we didn’t have enough money and I didn’t know how to take care of my children.”

Then Anahed learned about a wholistic program for women and children in Amman, Jordan, supported by Open Doors. The program is called Al Hadaf, which means ‘target’ or ‘goal’ in Arabic. The intention behind the centre is to provide care for women and children who have fled Iraq and neighbouring countries, to help them rebuild their lives.


At Al Hadaf, women receive good quality clothing, trauma care, education, business skills, microloans, parenting courses and art therapy, among other support services.

“Al Hadaf is helping me, not only with the things you see,” she says, referring to the clothes and the food, “but also mentally. My heart grows stronger here.”

Anahed feels safe here. “Leaving my country, becoming a refugee was terrifying. But here I found a safe haven; the people are so nice. They brought back the smile on my face through their kind words and loving care.”

Your gift, given on your mum’s behalf, will help women just like Anahed as they fight for their family’s survival.

Find out how to support courageous persecuted mothers this Mother’s Day.

Celebrate Mum and the persecuted church

Give Hope This Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day, help restore strength and dignity to mothers facing persecution.

When you choose a Gift of Hope, you’ll receive a beautiful card to give your own mum, and your generous gift to the persecuted church will support other mothers all around the world as they follow Jesus in some of the most dangerous places.

Give Hope to Mums