• Janhvi Gupt | Media and Communications

“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, a young Senegalese single mother seeking justice. “I was 17 at the time.”

However, plans didn’t go as she had hoped before leaving her home in Dakar, Senegal. In the first days of her stay in Norway, she found herself in an irregular and vulnerable situation, as the father of her child failed to fulfil his promises and parental responsibility. 

Struggling with dire circumstances in a foreign land and without the possibility of making ends meet, she learned about Norway’s Voluntary Assisted Return Programme (VARP) offered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and decided to apply to the programme through the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) website.

In this way, Gobado managed to return safely to Senegal, where she started a textile import-export business thanks to the financial support received from IOM as part of her reintegration assistance.

“IOM gave me a second chance and allowed me to rebuild my life in Senegal.”

Yet, this was not the end of her journey, and she was more determined than ever to seek justice. 

In 2018, Gobado initiated legal proceedings against her son’s father in Norway, demanding paternal recognition for her child. Faced with his unwillingness to cooperate, the court issued an ultimatum to obtain his DNA. However, he tried to force and threaten Gobado to cancel the procedure.

Despite the threats, Gobado, aged 21, was not intimidated and continued her battle fiercely. “In 2019, I hired a Senegalese lawyer who has worked in Oslo for 30 years,” she remarks. “As the DNA test results confirmed that the man was indeed the father of my child, he was obliged to pay monthly alimony for our son.”

With the legal battle behind her, Gobado returned to Dakar and regained control of her life, establishing a consulting firm aimed at supporting single mothers who are raising their children alone.

“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.”

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

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth