Cynthia is 42 years old. She is one of almost 24,000 Mauritanians who sought refuge in Senegal in 1989. Her family was forced to leave Mauritania when the border war broke out between the two countries. “I was ten years old back then”, Cynthia says. She still can’t forget the scenes of killings and rapes that took place before her eyes during the border conflict.
As a young woman, she kept trying to establish a stable life for herself in Senegal. She worked as a waitress and sold clothes. But she had to spend all her savings on medical care after a traffic accident. She couldn’t work for six months, and was in a desperate state. Friends told her about an advice centre run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Dakar which helps refugees. In February 2020, this centre referred Cynthia to the “House of Hope”.