Cookbooks, photography projects, friendships and Olympic winners – heart-warming stories from refugees around the world over the past year.
At present, an unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from their homes and homelands. Among them are almost 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement ever recorded.
Within this context, great resilience is unremittingly demonstrated by people in the face of such of such extreme adversity. Here we highlight just a few of the remarkable stories from refugees around the globe.
- Ehsan Al Kalili is a Syrian refugee and musician whose passion for music began when he lost his sight at age 11 in a bicycle accident. When Ehsan arrived at a refugee camp in Jordan, he wanted to do something to help uplift people at the camp, especially the children. Ehsan now teaches young people in the camp how to play instruments and uses his musical talent to fight disability myths. He says, "the best way to fight misconceptions is for people to see you engaged in life. When they see me teaching or playing with the band, they begin to understand that I'm not defined by my disability.
- Meet a tiny handful of the 120,000 people who have found a new beginning in London. Hodan, Eiad, Pipash, Tsigie, Vejdan and Charles are from Somalia, Syria, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Iran and Senegal. Here you can see them photographed where they first felt safe and a sense of belonging.
- Some of the most effective relief efforts in Bangladesh where almost three-quarters of a million persecuted people have been forced to flee from Burma for safety, are reportedly being carried out by existing Rohingya refugees and locals who helped traumatised, exhausted and malnourished new arrivals in need. At Kutupalong camp, those who fled the country two decades’ prior helped to provide food, shelter and clothing to newcomers.
- The adorable story of best friends Jack and Rani went viral in the UK after the boys appeared on an English TV programme. Rani arrived in Manchester from Syria in the UK when he was 10 years old and faced bullying at his new school. Recognising the tough time his classmate was having, Jack took Rani under his wing and their friendship blossomed. #FriendshipGoals
- Inspiring tales from the refugee Olympic team includes Yiech Pur Biel. Yiech remembers crying twice in his life: when he was separated from his mother during the Sudanese civil war and, many years later, when he found out he’d be running the 800m at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Read the stories of Olympians who have continued winning in life in spite of their refugee status.
- Families often have to abandon everything when they are forced to flee from their homes. Dina Mousawi and Itab Azzam believe home-cooking can provide relief and re-connection with lost culture. The two authors interviewed Syrian refugees scattered around Europe and the Middle East to gather stories along with the recipes that remind them of home. This is what has influenced their cookbook, Our Syria: Recipes From Home.
- Inspired to increase the proportion of refugees attending university which currently stands at just 1%, tech entrepreneur Rama Chakaki cofounded set up the mobile application edSeed back in April 2017. Most aid is focused on early education and most refugees have mobiles rather than laptops, so the app has been designed to work for refugee students.