Print this Page

Testimonies from Refugees

Sharing personal stories is one of the best ways to raise awareness of an issue. Here are testimonies from refugees, aid workers, smugglers, government officials, NGO staff and other people witnessing the global refugee crisis:

See testimonies by region: General, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Aid Workers

Makeshift shelter, typical of the rough living conditions in the jungle of Calais, France. Photo by UNHCR.

Makeshift shelter, typical of the rough living conditions in the jungle of Calais, France. Photo by UNHCR.

‘We’re the first to say that we don’t want people to live as refugees for long periods of time. It is obviously a life that is not one of full dignity.” – Joyce Mends-Cole, UNHCR representative in Tanzania, Aljazeera America “For Burundians, Tanzania’s Refugee Camps Offer A Better Life.”


General

“Those of us who make it to refugee camps and other settlements often find ourselves treated without any respect. We sometimes lose hope and wonder why the world fails to understand or accept us. Those of us who try to live in a new culture feel unwelcome. People in the host communities sometimes say we are not fit to play with their children. Even the teachers in the schools sometimes refuse to teach us or to treat us the same as the local kids. Some of us even feel like going back to our communities to join the fighting forces, just to feel like we belong somewhere.” – Youth affected by conflict from around the world, UNHCR “Will You Listen?: Young Voices from Conflict Zones.”


“For many of us, war came to our towns and villages before we knew what was happening. We had to run, often with little more than the clothes on our backs. We were forced to flee so suddenly that we became separated from our families and neighbors, sometimes forever. Can you imagine what it would be like to suddenly lose everything – to be uprooted from your home, your livelihood, your friends and maybe even your family? To start again in a new place is not easy.” – Youth affected by conflict from around the world, UNHCR “Will You Listen?: Young Voices from Conflict Zones.”


Missing people notices posted on a wall in Vienna's main train station. As they head over borders by the thousands, people lose each other amid misunderstandings, blocked borders, and overwhelmed officials and aid workers. Photo by Human Rights Watch.

Missing people notices posted on a wall in Vienna’s main train station. As they head over borders by the thousands, people lose each other amid misunderstandings, blocked borders, and overwhelmed officials and aid workers.
Photo by Human Rights Watch.


“We believe that education is essential to our future and that we have a right to dream of a better life. But when we lose months or years of school because of war, we worry that our dreams will escape us. When we should be learning, we are growing up in ignorance. As a result of this ignorance and lack of hope many of us are tempted into more violence and other dangerous activities. It can even lead to the continuing of war… When we spend years and years running away from wars, we miss many years of school. We feel ashamed to go back and sit in the same class with our younger friends and siblings. If basic education is a right for all, why do we have to be deprived of it because of war?” – Youth affected by conflict from around the world, UNHCR “Will You Listen?: Young Voices from Conflict Zones.”



The Spanish volunteer lifeguards on Lesbos explain their life-saving work.


“Some of us walk across barren deserts or risk our lives to reach another country, in hopes of finding a better life, free of violence and poverty and fear. For some of us, the problem is not being forced to move. It is being unable to move. But others of us are forced to seek refuge in a strange country without knowing if we will ever go home again.” – Youth affected by conflict from around the world, UNHCR “Will You Listen?: Young Voices from Conflict Zones.”


Refugees walk towards the Serbian border with Croatia in the hope of getting a bus further north in Europe. Photo by The Telegraph.

Refugees walk towards the Serbian border with Croatia in the hope of getting a bus further north in Europe.
Photo by The Telegraph.

– Back to Top –


Africa

“I don’t have any money so I don’t have any way to help [my mother in Somalia]. This month I asked UNHCR to send me back to Somalia because I’d rather die with my mother. I told them, ‘If you won’t send me to another country, send me home.’ I do nothing all day. No classes, no job, it’s like my life is on embargo.” – Labaan A., who was 17 years old when he traveled alone from Somalia to Indonesia, HRW Report “Barely Surviving: Detention, Abuse, and Neglect of Migrant Children in Indonesia.”


Burundian families who fled their country wait to be registered as refugees at Nyarugusu camp in northwest Tanzania on June 22, 105. Since unrest broke out in Burundi this spring, more than 100,000 people have fled. Photo by Getty Images.

Burundian families who fled their country wait to be registered as refugees at Nyarugusu camp in northwest Tanzania on June 22, 105. Since unrest broke out in Burundi this spring, more than 100,000 people have fled. Photo by Getty Images.


“When they [the soldiers] attacked we ran away. I ran [with my son]. My husband ran [in a different direction], I have not seen him since… I walked with my son [and a group of other people] until we reached the border with Chad. We walked for one month… Some people died of starvation on the walk. Some died of thirst. Some were very tired. We left them behind. About 15 people died. My son made it.” – Khatera, 22, HRW Report “Men With No Mercy: Rapid Support Forces Attacks against Civilians in Darfur, Sudan.”



“Somalia’s long-running armed conflict continues to leave civilians dead, wounded, and displaced in large numbers. The Islamist armed group Al-Shabaab commits abuses in areas it controls while targeting civilians in deadly attacks in government-controlled areas such as Mogadishu. Restrictions on access to aid organizations have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis.  The Somali government has largely failed to provide security and protect rights in areas under its control. Government security forces, African Union troops, and allied militias have been responsible for indiscriminate attacks, sexual violence, and arbitrary arrests and detention. Insecurity and political infighting have detracted from progress on justice and security sector reform.” HRW’s Somalia Page.


Ahmed says a combination of violence in Mogadishu and a lack of work and education opportunities prompted him to leave. Having already completed a long journey overland to Turkey, he says his ultimate destination is Germany.

Ahmed says a combination of violence in Mogadishu and a lack of work and education opportunities prompted him to leave. Having already completed a long journey overland to Turkey, he says his ultimate destination is Germany.


“I was born in 1972 in Somalia. I lived in a city together with my parents and brother until my parents died a violent death that I witnessed at the age of 16. I remained alone with my grandmother who decided to leave Somalia in order to protect me. Our journey took two months, me and my grandmother walked all the way to the shores of Djibouti where we took a boat through the Arabian Sea to Yemen. I almost lost hope after the engine of the boat had broken down. Fortunately, our over-crowded boat was found by a ship and its crew helped us to reach the coast of Yemen safely. Our lives depended on the help of others, who provided us food and temporary shelter. We slept and begged in the streets until we were sheltered in one of the refugee camps in Yemen. My life went normal, I found a job as a servant and was happy to be able to take care of myself and the only relative, who was close to me, my grandmother. But the journey exhausted my grandmother, whose health condition deteriorated rapidly. After her death, I remained alone and met a man who wanted to marry me was a recovery. Being a single woman and a refugee in a foreign country is not that easy, trust me. I liked him too. After our wedding, we found a decent house in the capital of Yemen, which offered much more job opportunities. Our three daughters visited school and I was pregnant with our fourth child when my husband filed a divorce and I remained alone again. I knew that without any support, I would not be able to survive and decided to ask UNHCR for help. I applied for resettlement and found myself to be chosen out of hundreds of refugees waiting with me in harsh living conditions. People say it must have been a really hard decision to leave everything behind and move to another country with different culture. I made the decision very easily, grabbed the hands of my children, like my grandmother grabbed mine 27 years ago and now, we are on a way towards a new, better life.” – Sahara, 43, described her journey to resettlement in Slovakia, UNHCR “Sahara’s story, Slovakia.”


Refugees are rescued by Italian Coast Guard scuba divers, seen bottom left, in Pantelleria, Italy. Officials say two women drowned while attempting to reach Italy from North Africa after their boat with 250 people aboard went off course and ran aground just off an Italian island. Photo by Associated Press.

Refugees are rescued by Italian Coast Guard scuba divers, seen bottom left, in Pantelleria, Italy. Officials say two women drowned while attempting to reach Italy from North Africa after their boat with 250 people aboard went off course and ran aground just off an Italian island. Photo by Associated Press.

– Back to Top –


Asia

“We fled our homes without bringing anything. When we went back to our house, all of our possessions were gone.” – 17-year-old male, Philippines, UNHCR “Will You Listen?: Young Voices from Conflict Zones.”


“Some babies, if they’re born there or stay there for one or two years, they think this is life. They think this is normal… One man in our room had a child… who came in as an infant. That girl stayed four years. She will think “This is my life, this is everything.” If your children go live in the IDC their emotions will die.” – Ali A., who was detained in the Bangkok Immigration Detention Center for two years, HRW Report “Two Years With No Moon: Immigration Detention of Children in Thailand.”


“[I]t’s not good. We cannot go to school because we are refugees…. The Indonesian government doesn’t make it possible for us to live here. I want to study maths, English, and science … I can do that when I leave here.” – Jairaj N., a Tamil boy who came to Indonesia with his family when he was 11 years old, HRW Report “Barely Surviving: Detention, Abuse, and Neglect of Migrant Children in Indonesia.”


Exhausted after their ordeal at sea a group of rescued boat people sleep at a sports auditorium in Lhoksukon, in Aceh province, Indonesia. They have since been moved to another location in Kuala Langsa. Photo by UNHCR.

Exhausted after their ordeal at sea a group of rescued boat people sleep at a sports auditorium in Lhoksukon, in Aceh province, Indonesia. They have since been moved to another location in Kuala Langsa. Photo by UNHCR.


“My brother in Malaysia contacted a broker who found me to go to Malaysia, he said it was safer to work there. I heard the news about many people dying on the way but I cannot stay any longer in my country. I cannot get married to anyone in my village because we are poor and cannot afford to pay the officer [Burmese officials] for permission; it is about 600,000 Kyat [US$600]. I have never been to school, it is too expensive to register. The broker took me and six others by boat to the coast at night time [through the riverways]. We got on a bigger boat, there were 95 people on that boat. We spent two months on that boat, more people kept coming to the big boat, small boats all the time. We [the females] were under the boat, it was so small. I couldn’t see outside the boat, just feel it go up and down. People where throwing up, I felt dizzy and uncomfortable the whole time. I wore the same clothes the whole time, I couldn’t wash. It took ten days on the boat to get to Thailand. We were transferred to the island by small boat at nighttime, it took about one hour, we were covered the whole time. When I got to the island I thought I would die, there was no food or water. We were two days on the island. The Thai navy came and gave us food and water, took our pictures, and took us to Thailand. I just want my brother and parents to know I’m here. I cannot go home, Myanmar [Burma] is not my country.” – Hafsa, 14-year-old female, from Maungdaw township, Arakan State, Burma, HRW News “Southeast Asia: Accounts from Rohingya Boat People.”


“We had a lot of problems in Burma…. My parents thought I was in danger so they told me to leave…. The boat ride was long—18 days and nights. We arrived in Thailand, and rested for one day and one night. The Thai navy took our boat motor and our food and put us in the sea. They took us to the middle of the sea and they left us. We had some bamboo and some plastic tarpaulins, so we made a sail. We traveled for three days like that. In the sea we saw a fisherman’s boat. He guided us to Aceh. Police arrested us.” – Rafiq A., a Burmese Rohingya boy, described his journey to Indonesia in February 2011 when he was 14 years old, HRW Report “Barely Surviving: Detention, Abuse, and Neglect of Migrant Children in Indonesia.”


“I was on the way to my father-in-law’s house with my husband when a broker and many men took us. They forced us onto the big boat. On the boat I couldn’t understand their [the traffickers’] language, I cannot speak Burmese or Rakhine, I don’t know who they are. I was two months on the boat. I was underneath, my husband was on top. One day my husband came down to me, he was bleeding from his head and shoulder and arm. The smugglers beat him, he didn’t know why. I didn’t see him again until we were all dropped at the island. When the Thai navy came we were sent to different places. The last time I saw him he was still in pain.” – Sameera, 16-year-old female, from Maungdaw township, Arakan State, Burma, HRW News “Southeast Asia: Accounts from Rohingya Boat People.”


Latin America

“My grandmother is the one who told me to leave. She said: ‘If you don’t join, the gang will shoot you. If you do, the rival gang will shoot you, or the cops. But if you leave, no one will shoot you.'” – a 17-year-old boy who fled Honduras, CNN “Daniel’s journey: How thousands of children are creating a crisis in America”


Salvadorian refugee Stefany Marjorie, 8, watches as a U.S. Border Patrol agent records family information.
Photo by Getty Images.


“The biggest problem is the gangs. They go into the school and take girls out and kill them. … I used to see reports on the TV every day about girls being buried in their uniforms with their backpacks and notebooks. I had to go very far to go to school, and I had to walk by myself. There was nowhere else I could go where it would be safer.” – a 14-year-old girl from El Salvador, CNN “Daniel’s journey: How thousands of children are creating a crisis in America”


“It was a terrible idea to come over like that. I don’t want anybody to come like that. I wanted to testify [to the government]. I want people to know what happened to me. I don’t want anybody else to experience that. I hope the government decides to protect people and we can have the opportunity to live here. It’s very hard without anything that recognizes us.” – Daniel Penado Zavala was 17 when he made a heart-wrenching decision to leave his family behind in San Salvador and try to make a new life where it was safer. He saw gang members target and kill young people like him. After his stepfather was slain, Daniel’s mother was left to support him and his three siblings. He scraped together $7,000 — a huge sum of money for a family like his — to pay a coyote, or smuggler, to arrange a harrowing journey, first to Mexico and then over the Texas border, CNN “Daniel’s journey: How thousands of children are creating a crisis in America”

– Back to Top –


Middle East

“I am very afraid. I was beaten in Iran. I was beaten in detention. I’m looking for safety but I haven’t found it.” – A refugee on Manus, HRW Dispatch “You Got it Right the First Time, Mr. Turnbull.”


“You become domesticated, like an animal inside a cage. You think they are fine. They look normal, they seem healthy but they could not survive in nature, and that is like us now. We become like that. Mentally, we are not fine. An ethnic Rohingya refugee told me, ‘In Burma, the government shoots us. Here, they kill us mentally.’” – Reza Mollagholipour, a civil engineer from Iran, HRW Op Ed “It’s Been Two Years Since Manus Island Re-Opened. Not A Single Refugee Has Been Resettled.”


“We left everything at home, and I only brought one change of clothes. We didn’t have money to rent a house, and now we’re living in a mosque. When it rains, water comes into the mosque. Every night I cover up with a blanket, because I didn’t have anything else to wear. Some nights it felt like we were going to die from the cold.” – 11-year-old Zeynab fled with her family to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, UNICEF “After Fleeing Violence, Iraq’s Displaced Children Face A Deadly Winter.”



Four-year-old Shahad, whose name means “the sweetest part of the honey,” was born in a village near the city of Hama in western Syria. She is now a refugee living in Lebanon, UNHCR “Shahad’s Story, Lebanon.”


“I fled the Taliban, because many children who are my age are taken by the Taliban to use as suicide bombers.” – Akbar, a 17-year-old Afghan Refugee, HRW News “EU: Abuses Against Children Fuel Migration.”


“In the past, life was good in Syria. There was work, electricity, clean water, food … Today there’s nothing. Everyone wants to escape. I feel like the messiah. The people I meet feel like they’re already dead by the time they reach me. I breathe life back into them. And in the end, I get them to a safe shore.” – Messi, 30, a Syrian smuggler based in Turkey, Aljazeera English “‘Everyone wants to escape’: Refugee smugglers in Turkey defend business.”


Ali came from Najaf with his wife and son, fleeing the advance of Islamic State (IS) militants and the breakdown of services such as basic drinking water. "I'm not thinking about me," he says, "it's about the future for my son."

Ali came from Najaf with his wife and son, fleeing the advance of Islamic State (IS) militants and the breakdown of services such as basic drinking water. “I’m not thinking about me,” he says, “it’s about the future for my son.”


Two families interviewed said they fled Afghanistan to avoid child marriage. An Afghan couple who fled Herat in April 2015 told Human Rights Watch that a 65-year-old man connected to the Taliban had proposed to marry their 10-year-old daughter. “If we didn’t accept, they would kill us,” said the mother. “We escaped in the night.” – Afghani refugees, HRW News “EU: Abuses Against Children Fuel Migration.”


“Sometimes the Iraqi children get very angry at the Syrian children. They say that we are the bad guys. That makes me very angry, so I tell them that I didn’t come here to make problems but because the situation in Syria is very bad. There is no electricity and water [in Syria], so I just came here to go to school and to live. I am a child and I have nothing to do with the war, it is not my fault. I just have to continue to go to school.” – Haval, 11, Save the Children “Futures Under Threat: The Impact of the Education Crisis on Syria’s Children.”


“I worked to enable my brother to stay in school. I first worked in a small garment shop, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with only one day off each month. Later, I worked in a restaurant, but found that my [paltry] wages were not enough to support me and my brother. It wasn’t a life. I was just alive.”    –Walid started working in Iran at age 9, when his aunt stopped paying his school fees. He left Iran for Greece in May, HRW News “EU: Abuses Against Children Fuel Migration.”


The school consists of a large tent, a whiteboard and a large rug the children sit on. There are no desks and the children keep their books on their laps. All of the students take classes together, regardless of age or grade level. Photo by UNHCR.

The school consists of a large tent, a whiteboard and a large rug the children sit on. There are no desks and the children keep their books on their laps. All of the students take classes together, regardless of age or grade level.
Photo by UNHCR.


“My mother is doing her best to get us money, but our financial situation is very bad. I wish I could get married now to a rich man and take money from him and give it to my mother. I know it’s not right and I am only 17. There are a lot of girls who do the same, willingly, and the parents want this too. I am not studying now. I should go back to school, but my priority is to get married. I believe getting married to someone rich is the most practical and fastest solution, and we already get many suitors in Egypt. It would be nice if he lets me finish my education. I know it’s a mistake, but it is a mistake that I would make.” – Sita, 17, Save the Children “Futures Under Threat: The Impact of the Education Crisis on Syria’s Children.”


“For us, it’s important that people get to their destination. If a customer is satisfied, he will give my contact information to his mother, brother and his whole family. That’s how I’ve stayed in the business for three years. Other smugglers will not last.” – Messi, 30, a Syrian smuggler based in Turkey, Aljazeera English “‘Everyone wants to escape’: Refugee smugglers in Turkey defend business.”


Refugees and migrants wake up after spending a night in a Lesbos field in early October. Photo by AFP/Aris Messinis.


“The smuggler took me and five Syrians by car for about an hour to the border. After we arrived to an area with gardens, the smuggler let us out and told us to walk down a dirt path, saying that we would find a Jordanian car waiting for us on the other side of the border. We walked about 700 meters and then arrived to an area with two sets of dunes that marked the border. As we were crossing the Jordanian army started firing at us. We all laid down flat on the ground to avoid the gun fire. After some moments two trucks with army officers came to us, before we knew what was happening an army officer shot five of us in our legs. We weren’t trying to flee.” – Abdullah, a 47-year old Palestinian from Damascus trying to reunite with family members, HRW Report “Not Welcome: Jordan’s Treatment of Palestinians Escaping Syria.”


“I hadn’t eaten in two days. As soon as the truck arrived in Italy I was very hungry so I got out and I took only a few steps and the police caught me.…They asked me, I said I was 15. They talked to the Greek authorities and put me on a boat back to Igoumenitsa.” – Ali M., unaccompanied Afghan boy who was 15 years old when he was returned from Italy to Greece, Athens, June 25, 2012, HRW Report “Turned Away: Summary Returns of Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Adult Asylum Seekers from Italy to Greece.”


A child fleeing war in Syria is lifted over a border fence at the Akcakale crossing in Sanliurfa province, southern Turkey. Thousands more refugees have fled into Turkey following an upsurge in fighting between Kurds and militants. Photo by AFP.

A child fleeing war in Syria is lifted over a border fence at the Akcakale crossing in Sanliurfa province, southern Turkey. Thousands more refugees have fled into Turkey following an upsurge in fighting between Kurds and militants.
Photo by AFP.


“We paid smugglers to help us flee just 24 hours after I was called to report to the Army. When we first arrived, I felt that Europe would be a much better place, that it would be civilized, that it respected human rights. We suffered a lot in Hungary. I wish it would be kicked out of the European Union. We were mistreated. It was bad, very bad. We are humiliated here in Traiskirchen. There are 40 people sharing one room. We’re crammed together like sheep in a barn. For those living in tents, the situation is much worse. Sometimes, when it gets windy, the tents blow over and people are always sick. If the situation continues like this, we’ll either try to make it to Germany, because we hear it’s better, or we will go back to Syria. There may be killings, shellings and kidnappings, but we will return to the liberated areas. And at least there, we will be among family and friends.” – 33-year-old Mohammad Malaki fled Hama, Syria, with his wife and newborn child to avoid being drafted and forced to fight for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Aljazeera America “In Austria, Refugees Voice Frustration at Overcrowded Camps.”


“We have skills, we can survive anywhere,” Hassan said. “We don’t just come to Europe to eat and sleep. We’re looking for safety. It’s better to walk across half of Europe than to stay in Syria.” – Hassan, a 30-year-old IT engineer from Syria, International Business Times “Migrant crisis: Syrian refugees squeeze under razor wire fence into Hungary and the EU.”


“I climbed a fence—a 2.5 meter fence—and fell. I was in a hurry so the coastguard didn’t see me, so I jumped quickly and fell, I hurt my back.… I went under the truck, on a box in between the two axles of the wheels. I stayed on the box the whole journey. I didn’t want to be seen. I was alone. It was painful for my back the whole time.… I still have pain in my back now.” – Ahmed S., an unaccompanied migrant boy from Afghanistan who was 17 when he was returned from Italy, HRW Report “Turned Away: Summary Returns of Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Adult Asylum Seekers from Italy to Greece.”


A refugee man and boy are stuck between Macedonian riot police officers and refugees during a clash near Idomeni, Greece, as they wait to be allowed by the Macedonian police to cross the border from Greece to Macedonia. Photo by AP.

A refugee man and boy are stuck between Macedonian riot police officers and refugees during a clash near Idomeni, Greece, as they wait to be allowed by the Macedonian police to cross the border from Greece to Macedonia. Photo by AP.

– Back to Top –


Aid Workers

Ivo

Ivo, UNHCR protection unit: “A few days ago, I met an Iraqi family – an elderly couple. The man was dressed very light, and his wife was in a wheelchair. They had been robbed of all their money in Greece, and now they rely on other people’s mercy. I am moved by the extent to which people are willing to give everything up to make it through this journey.”
Photo by Al Jazeera.


“My heart is heavy, especially for the young people who are growing up in the camp, like teenagers. When I walk through the camp and I see a lot of young people, especially students, I feel their need for rights; I feel for their futures. I think, ‘If I am that little girl, over the next 10 years how can I survive? How can I support myself?’” – A member of the Karen Refugee Committee, the primary coordinating body for the predominantly Karen refugee camps, HRW Report “Ad Hoc and Inadequate: Thailand’s Treatment of Refugees and Asylum Seekers.”


Bojana

Bojana, doctor, Red Cross: “I met a former legionnaire from France in the camp. He was in love with a Syrian woman, so he went to Syria to take the girl and her family, and now they are all making the journey together, from border to border.”
Photo by Al Jazeera.


“Family reunification, poverty and violence are the main reasons for which children leave Honduras. It is essential to address the problem in the migrants’ communities of origin and examine the root causes to reduce further migration. This requires resources from both the Government and society as a whole to go to the communities and to follow up on each of the children to prevent them from taking this dangerous journey.” – Martha Reyes, Director of a migrant reception centre El Eden, San Pedro Sula, Honduras, OCHA “In Honduras, unaccompanied children and adolescents continue to migrate.”


Malek, translator, Red Cross: "I am half Syrian, half Macedonian. I was raised in Syria, but my family came to Macedonia in 2013, after the war started. It touched me when I met at the camp in Gevgelija people from my hometown in Syria, Deiraz Zor. Some did not have any money, so I helped them." Photo by Al Jazeera.

Malek, translator, Red Cross: “I am half Syrian, half Macedonian. I was raised in Syria, but my family came to Macedonia in 2013, after the war started. It touched me when I met at the camp in Gevgelija people from my hometown in Syria, Deiraz Zor. Some did not have any money, so I helped them.” Photo by Al Jazeera.


“We’ve had children dying here in the desert. It really is unacceptable, the entire thing.” – Isabel Garcia, an immigrant rights activist with the Arizona-based Coalicion de Derechos Humanos (Coalition for Human Rights), CNN “Daniel’s journey: How thousands of children are creating a crisis in America”


Amer, field monitor, UNHCR: "About a month ago, a truck full of bottled mineral water came. A NuN [Civil Association] volunteer and I had to unload it; there were two to three tons of water. I was searching for help among the refugees. An elderly Syrian refugee saw I was getting no response and offered to help, along with two other members of his family. When the job was done, I shook his hand to thank him, and he kissed me on the cheek in return and called me 'habibi' [my dear]. I am part Muslim, so I know that means he considered me part of the family. His warmth moved me." Photo by Al Jazeera.

Amer, field monitor, UNHCR: “About a month ago, a truck full of bottled mineral water came. A NuN [Civil Association] volunteer and I had to unload it; there were two to three tons of water. I was searching for help among the refugees. An elderly Syrian refugee saw I was getting no response and offered to help, along with two other members of his family. When the job was done, I shook his hand to thank him, and he kissed me on the cheek in return and called me ‘habibi’ [my dear]. I am part Muslim, so I know that means he considered me part of the family. His warmth moved me.” Photo by Al Jazeera.


“Increasingly gang violence and organized crime, together with climate change-driven natural disasters, are displacing more people as wars are fewer on the continent and political violence has decreased considerably. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. How many others were displaced and never reached the border? Very many more. This tremendous wave of violence, Latin America has to deal with it and the world has to help.” – Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Reuters “Drug violence, climate change create ceaseless wave of Latin American refugees.”


Marcelo XY from Clowns Without Borders tries to help a refugee woman get out of the train in the transit camp in Gevgelija, Macedonia. Travelling with an infant, she was banging on the window, saying her baby didn't have enough air to breathe. Photo by Al Jazeera.

Marcelo XY from Clowns Without Borders tries to help a refugee woman get out of the train in the transit camp in Gevgelija, Macedonia. Travelling with an infant, she was banging on the window, saying her baby didn’t have enough air to breathe. Photo by Al Jazeera.


Adam from UNHCR greets two refugee children waiting outside the transit camp in Gevgelija. UNHCR people work in three shifts for 7-10 days, followed by a two day break. "I was interviewing a single mother travelling with two children from Syria, a boy and a girl. She was a very powerful person, always making sure her kids are still laughing. But at one moment, she started to cry. Her boy just quit playing what he was playing with and came to sit by his mother's side. He did not move until she stopped crying." Photo by Al Jazeera.

Adam from UNHCR greets two refugee children waiting outside the transit camp in Gevgelija. UNHCR people work in three shifts for 7-10 days, followed by a two day break. “I was interviewing a single mother travelling with two children from Syria, a boy and a girl. She was a very powerful person, always making sure her kids are still laughing. But at one moment, she started to cry. Her boy just quit playing what he was playing with and came to sit by his mother’s side. He did not move until she stopped crying.” Photo by Al Jazeera.


Ana, a Red Cross paramedic, dresses one refugee's bleeding wound. Red Cross team members work three days in the camp in 12-hour shifts, then they go home to Skopje for another three days. "I am very impressed by their generosity. One day, a refugee boy came and donated some cough syrup for the other children. Other times, when we distributed hygiene kits, refugees were giving back the things they did not need to be used by others." Photo by Al Jazeera.

Ana, a Red Cross paramedic, dresses one refugee’s bleeding wound. Red Cross team members work three days in the camp in 12-hour shifts, then they go home to Skopje for another three days. “I am very impressed by their generosity. One day, a refugee boy came and donated some cough syrup for the other children. Other times, when we distributed hygiene kits, refugees were giving back the things they did not need to be used by others.” Photo by Al Jazeera.

– Back to Top –

 

Back to Children in the World Refugee Crisis Toolkit

Permanent link to this article: http://www.hrwstf.org/wordpress/?page_id=5021