Free Press Journal

World Refugee Day: 5 refugee stories that will melt your heart


They are needy, courageous but determined. For them, every day is a nightmare. They are refugees. Every year thousands of them travel through boats, trucks to find themselves a safe haven. Many countries consider refugees as a threat as they use their resources. The value of human life is a small cost that is paid for someone’s greedy motives. There are numerous lives lost during such violence. But there are some who went through painful perils and lived to tell the tale. World Refugee Day, observed on June 20 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. In honour of World Refugee Day, we’re sharing the stories of refugees some with a happy ending, while others still finding their pace.

How a wrong number changed his life forever
Amaan always wanted to be an Arabic teacher and had no interest in religion or politics. Since all the young men were forced to join the army he ran away with just a small suitcase. He planned to reside in Jordan for a month until things calmed down. Three months passed by and everything was rubble. His house was destroyed and there was nothing to go back to. He ran out of money. One day a wrong number changed his life forever. He met his soulmate. They both used to talk on the phone daily for hours. She was a refugee too. They started sharing every detail about their life. Eventually, they met in person. The couple is happily married now and is blessed with two children.
Source: Business Insider

Waiting for his mother and sister
afghan refugee story 2
On July 10, 2014, Hosein, an Afghan Civil Engineer student, along with his mother and sister paid 9,000 Euros for their passage from Turkey to Greece. The little boat occupied over 40 people but due to high seas his boat sank and his sister and mother went missing. The next day Hosein along with along with few others were found unconscious by an Italian sailing boat and were transferred to Chios Island. A travel document was issued to Hosein by the French Embassy in Athens and currently resides in France with his two sisters. Another passenger who left the boat after Hosein informed him that his mother and sister were not trapped in the cabin and must have survived since they had good life jackets. He still hopes that one day he might be able to meet his mother and sister.
Source: UNHCR

Survived, but lost everything…..
67-year-old Ahmed lost eight of his family members on October 11, 2013, when a boat with hundreds of Syrian refugees on board sank shortly after it left Libya. Over 36 people lost their lives in the tragic incident. Narrating the incident to a Hungarian freelance journalist, Ahmed revealed how ‘agents’ helped them to reach Libya and from there to Malta. Ahmed and his family members were asked to pay 3,000 USD per person. As soon as they entered the boat, Libyan militiamen showed up and held guns to their heads, demanding more money. The refugees emptied their pockets and gave thousands of dollars. But all in vain. A ship followed their boat for hours and later shoot at the refugees, injuring those on board. The bullets punctured the boat and soon it sank within minutes. Fortunately, Ahmed survived but none of his family members.
Source: UNHCR

A happy ending
In 2008, Mohad, a fisherman from Somalia, left his pregnant wife and children in search of a ‘safer shelter’ after receiving threats from local militiamen. Before leaving, he promised his wife that once he finds a safer shelter he would bring her and kids there. He crossed the Sahara desert on foot and the Mediterranean Sea in a tiny boat with tens of other refugees. Mohad found a safe haven in Malta but the Maltese authorities did not allow for family reunification. Thus began his next journey in search of other options. It took five years for Mohad to find one. He relocated to Poland and half a year later he welcomed his wife and children at the Chopin airport in Warsaw.
Source: UNHCR

Deja vu
Sahara was 16-year-old when she witnessed her parents’ violent death. She along with her grandmother fled Somalia and walked to the shores of Djibouti and boarded a boat through the Arabian Sea to Yemen. Due to the over-boarded boat the engine of the boat broke down. The boat was found by a ship which helped those on board to reach the coast of Yemen. On reaching the refugee camps in Yemen, the refugees found a job as servants and took care of themselves. Exhausted by the journey, her grandmother’s condition deteriorated and she passed away. Later, Sahara met a man, fell in love and married him. When she was pregnant with her fourth child, her husband filed for divorce. She approached the UN Refugee Agency for help and was chosen out of hundreds of refugees waiting for resettlement. Leaving everything behind and starting a new life is not easy. Sahara held the hands of her children to start a new journey altogether, like her grandmother did years ago.
Source: UNHCR