The Committee and members of UAI in the UK announce, with profound sadness, the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Mona, on 11 April 2020, a victim of Covid-19.
All who knew Mona were immediately inspired and delighted by her generous spirit, her infectious enthusiasm and her unshakeable commitment to the causes she felt strongly about.
Mona was a founding member of UAI in the UK and of its Committee. In those capacities, she worked tirelessly to encourage support for our mission to end the inhumanities which cause such terrible suffering during wars and the flight of refugees and asylum-seekers.
Mona organised our most recent event “Where is humanity? The human costs of detaining asylum-seekers” on 25 February 2020. Without Mona, the event would not have happened and without her charisma it would not have been the success it was.
We are heart-broken at the loss of our precious Mona and pledge to re-double our efforts, in her name, to challenge inhumanity in wars and asylum.
The Committee of UAI in the UK
Following are extracts from tributes to Mona received from others:
Mona was born in Sudan to parents who were freedom fighters during the war of Eritrean independence. She grew up in Canada. Twenty two years ago she moved to London where she got married with her beloved husband Mr. Nadeem.
She campaigned extensively against all sorts of injustices. She always said that words should be followed by actions. As a member of a panel at an event on World Refugee Day she once said: “Policy does not change if we stay quiet. We need to act and be part of the solution. Write to your MP.”
Mona was a selfless, warm, generous, loyal and humble person, loved and highly regarded by Eritrean and other communities.
There is an enormous outpouring of support, prayers and wishes for her family through social media from various corners of the world, recognising her unstinting care for others.
Mona’s family is planning to set up a Trust Fund in her memory to be able to carry on her legacy and address the causes she was passionate about.
Please let’s keep Mona and her family in our prayers.
May He protect us all!
Lul Seyoum, UAI member
When we asked Mona what drove her and where her huge energy came from, she expressed a deep sense of duty linked to her faith. She said that she could not bear injustice. She said she felt blessed, and wished to give something in return. She was loved and admired by her colleagues, by community leaders and by activists for migrant rights across the UK. Most of all, she was loved by the clients and their families, who remained in contact with her long after we had moved on to our next cases.
Bhatt Murphy, Solicitors
We are heartbroken by the death of our dear colleague Mona Mahmood.
Mona was a ray of sunshine, who lived out her faith through action.
Mona first joined Safe Passage as a volunteer interpreter back in 2016, and was central to the work to reunite children with their families at the time of the demolition of the Calais ‘Jungle’. Mona’s warmth and compassion quickly won the trust and confidence of the unaccompanied children from the camp, creating the security and space for them to open up to lawyers working with them, and put their faith in a legal solution.
Mona went on to become a much-loved colleague and friend within the Safe Passage team, working with families to prepare and support their reunion, and encouraging them to become advocates for a more just system. It was this unshakable sense of justice that drove Mona to help so many to navigate the complexities of our asylum system, access safe routes, and strive for a better world.
Without question, Mona created that better world through the work she did and the community she built. The impact of her work will live on in the love and stories of the families she helped to reunite and reach a place of safety.
Mona touched the lives of countless people involved in Safe Passage – separated families, unaccompanied children, staff, volunteers, lawyers and supporters – and we are united in grief at her loss.
Safe Passage (extract)
Staff and students have paid heartfelt tributes to University of East London student Mona Mahmoud, who has passed away from Covid-19.
They recalled the “warm personality” and the “selfless, intelligent and passionate refugee activist” who used her own experiences to help others and had great ambitions for the future of her work. She leaves a husband and five children.
Mona was studying for a Master’s in Conflict, Displacement and Human Security at the University.
Originally of Eritrean origin, she grew up in Canada where she was granted refugee status as a child. She used that experience to help unaccompanied refugee children secure their status and rebuild their lives, as well as, later providing practical support for displaced families in Europe.
Mona’s friend and colleague Roxanne Nanton, said, “Mona was a selfless, intelligent and passionate refugee activist. She spoke out about the inequalities and injustices in the world and was committed to helping people in any way she could. She was a true altruist. Mona made an impression on everyone she met with her warmth and charismatic personality.
University of East London (extract)
Words fail me at this time. I sit here and smile… remembering our memories… the good, the bad, and everything in between.
You are my mother, best friend, role model, confidant, and the brightest light in my life. The world seems greyer without you but my heart is at peace. You always ran ahead… yearning for that next adventure and this is what this is.
You taught me to be brave… to be kind… to be humble… to be loyal but most importantly, you taught me to live life to the fullest. So I will follow in your footsteps… and not let fear hold me back. I will carry on your legacy… that I promise.
Rest easy mama… knowing that I as your eldest have my siblings. I will hold them close to my heart like you did with me. Soothe their worries and fears and fill their lives with the warmth that you left in me. I will be strong for them and for dad.
My heart will never be the same but the thought of seeing your smile again in paradise keeps my heart at peace and my light on.
The days will be long without you… but I’ll treasure these memories.
My emotions run havoc but I am filled with pride and happiness… that I was blessed to have you as my mother… that I got to hold your hand… hug you, and kiss your forehead.
I love you and I am so incredibly proud and humbled that I had you as my mother.
Rest now and know that my heart is overflowing with love.
Tribute from Mona’s daughter, Shayma