PeaceWoman of the Month
Sonja Troicher Tagirova
Sonja Troicher Tagirova was born in Kazakhstan. Her family was originally from Chechnya but was displaced in the 1940s. When her father died, the task of looking after the family fell to her. This meant caring for her two children, a husband who was often ill, and eight other people.
In 1994, war broke out in Chechnya, to where she had returned. As a result she lost family members and friends and the number of those dependent on her increased steadily. When the war was over, once again she was forced to leave her country. She came to Switzerland in 1997 with her children and her sister. She began her work as an interpreter for migrants from the Caucasus and the post-soviet states.
She is most deeply moved by the lives of women who, like her, are left to care for children on their own, but also by the fate of young people having to make their way through life without a family as a result of war or other traumatic circumstances. Today, she is still a voluntary worker for the solidarity network for undocumented migrants in Switzerland. She helps write appeals, counsels in a variety of areas and interprets orally and in writing for a variety of institutions. She acts as a councillor for people with a variety of legal problems and she can resort to a number of lawyers, doctors and psychiatrists. But sometimes it is enough simply to be there, to listen, to give solace so that people realise they are not alone, that someone is there for them. In this way Sonja Troicher Tagirova has given many women the courage to stand up for themselves.