‘Life is worth living’: Tunisian woman Maha Jabnoun overcomes brain tumor

“Nothing can stop women who want to change their reality and to rise up against the patriarchal mentality.”


Tunisia- Tunisian Maha Jabnoun is a strong woman who never gives up. Although she went through a difficult period after doctors found a brain tumor, she says, “Life is worth living”. NuJINHA spoke to her about her struggle against the tumor in her brain. “When I learned that I had a tumor in a very sensitive part of my brain, I refused to sit down and wait.”

After learning that a tumor was found in her brain, Maha Jabnoun began to learn how to paint, embroider and design dresses. She attended a sewing course for three years. “Then, I received my certificate. I also learned how to embroider from my uncle's wife and her daughter. I also started knitting and went to a painting course. These activities helped me to overcome the disease as well as the problems that I faced after my separation from my husband. The disease did not defeat me and I am never scared of death. Although I knew that the success rate of the surgery to remove my brain tumor was 1%, I never lost my hope,” Maha Jabnoun told NuJINHA.

‘I am known across Tunisia”

After the surgery, she faced many challenges. “After the surgery, my husband kicked me and my children out of the house while I needed to rest to recover. Now, we live with my mother.  After overcoming the brain tumor, I had to work to meet our expenses. Although I am still suffering from the effects of the disease, I sew, embroider, paint, and participate in exhibitions, so that I can cover the expenses of my treatment and the expenses of my children's education. Now, I am known across Tunisia. I believe that if you do what you love, you can overcome all obstacles.”


‘Women should believe in themselves’

Underlining that she is determined to struggle despite all the challenges faced by her, Maha Jabnoun said, “After the successes I have achieved, some people wonder about the source of my strength and patience despite all the challenges I have faced. I must raise and take good care of my children. I am not a weak woman waiting for someone to help me. Women should believe in themselves to overcome all challenges and obstacles. They should participate in many activities and learn their rights. There are women who start studying after 80. Women should improve themselves to fight the patriarchal mentality of our society.”