Overcoming Adversity: A Single Mother's Arduous Journey to Justice

At only 17 years old, Gobado, was terrified of becoming a mother – even more so after being abandoned by the father of her baby.  

After her son was born, she could barely make ends meet in her hometown, Dakar, Senegal. Gobado knew she needed financial support to keep them both alive.

“In February 2016, I left for Norway to find the father of my child who had abandoned me during my pregnancy in 2014,” says Gobado.

However, once in Norway, plans didn’t go as she had hoped. In the first days of her stay in Norway, Gobado found herself in an irregular and vulnerable situation, as the father of her child failed to recognize his parental responsibility.  

Struggling once more in a foreign land and barely able to provide for herself and her son, Gobado made the decision to return home with support from the International Organization for Migration through Norway’s Voluntary Assisted Return Programme (VARP).

Thanks to financial support received from IOM as part of her reintegration assistance, she started her own textile import-export business. “This gave me a second chance and allowed me to rebuild my life in Senegal,” she explains.

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While in Senegal, Gobado remained determined to seek justice for her son. In 2018, she initiated legal proceedings against her son’s father in Norway, demanding paternal recognition. Despite receiving threats and several attempts to obstruct proceedings, Gobado, now aged 21, was not intimidated and continued her battle fiercely. After hiring a lawyer and requesting a DNA test, the father was eventually required to pay monthly alimony for his son.

With her legal battle behind her, Gobado began to move forward with her life, establishing a consulting firm aimed at supporting single mothers who are raising their children alone.  

mother and son

“Now that I have finally overcome these challenges, I decided to open a consulting firm to give other single mothers the moral and emotional support they need, accompanying them through the administrative procedures to assert their rights and those of their children,” she says. 

Gobado is also in the process of building her own house, paving the way for a stable and bright future for her son. “I am looking forward to finishing the construction of my house, to have a decent livelihood for me and my child, as it should be.”

I give other single mothers the support they need to assert their rights and those of their children.