icon icon icon icon icon icon icon

Hope and resilience on World Humanitarian Day 2023

Leen, a Palestinian-Syrian refugee in Türkiye, works with CARE as a community organizer. Photo: Tarek Satea/CARE

Leen, a Palestinian-Syrian refugee in Türkiye, works with CARE as a community organizer. Photo: Tarek Satea/CARE

Leen, originally from Palestine, is considered “a refugee twice.”

Her grandparents were displaced from Palestine to Syria, and there, she was considered a Palestinian refugee. When her family had to move once again due to the war in Syria, she became a Palestinian-Syrian refugee in Türkiye.

Leen is not alone. Her story underscores the struggles and resilience of refugees around the world, aligning with the essence of World Humanitarian Day, when we take a moment to honor and support those affected by crises.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by CARE (@careorg)

At the end of 2022, the United Nations estimated that 108.4 million people had been forcibly displaced worldwide — 62.5 million of which are internally displaced, and 35.3 million are refugees.

“I am separated from my sister, and I have not seen her for 12 years. I have lost things and dreams that I never thought I would lose one day.”

For the past two years, Leen has been working as a community organizer.

With funding from the European Union, CARE has been training motivated community members in Türkiye like Leen to inform and educate their peers on basic rights and services, education, mental health, safeguarding children from harm, parenting skills, and stopping gender-based violence.

Working as a community organizer has given Leen a sense of empowerment so she can “stand up against ignorance.” Photo: Tarek Satea/CARE

Still, Leen longs to go back to her roots.

I miss my home,” she says. “The place I grew up in, and the activities I used to do.”

“Living in Dadaab is a struggle,” Nyibol says. Photo: Kelly Muthusi/CARE

“The future is unknown”

Nyibol James, originally from South Sudan, lives in Ifo camp, one of the oldest refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya.

The Dadaab camp, constructed in 1991, is home to nearly 245,000 registered refugees, including more than 130,000 new arrivals from 2011.

“My mother raised us on her own,” she says. “I never knew my dad was dead until I was nine. To us, the future? We will leave it to God. We don’t know anything about the future because we can’t promise anything.”

“But if God is willing, I will finish my education, my university, and I will get a good job, I will give back to society.

CARE supports the new arrivals at Dadaab with the supply and installation of micro water storage facilities which can hold to up to 5,000 liters (1,320 gallons) of drinking water. CARE also distributes plastic jerricans, constructs communal latrines, and supplies soap bars to all new arrival households residing in the outskirts. Additionally, women and girls are provided with dignity kits.

“I would love to study medicine to become a doctor,” Nyibol says. “That is what I would really love to do, to be a doctor and help my people.”

Isnino managed to reach Dadaab, Kenya from Somalia, walking more than 250 miles. Photo: Sarah Easter/CARE

The 250 mile walk to stay alive

Of the 108.4 million forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2022, an estimated 43.3 million (40 per cent) are children below 18 years of age.

Their journeys are almost unimaginably perilous.

Due to the drought in Somalia, Isnino and her family lost nearly all their livestock. She left with her six children for Dadaab, but her husband stayed behind to save what was still alive.

“We walked all day,” says Isnino says. “It took us a month.”

“I was scared that wild animals would take my children away and eat them.”

“We hardly had any food on the way, Isnino says. “Sometimes we got food from strangers.”

As of May 2023, 200-300 people are coming to Dadaab every day. Despite the numerous challenges there, people stay in Dadaab because they have no other place to go.

Balqees from Al-Azraq camp needs to study and manage all family chores. She is only 18. Photo: Sulafah Al-Shami/CARE

Scholarship and better internet

“I wish there were more scholarships available to students with good grades. If I can’t continue my education, I plan to work here at the camp.”

Balqees, an 18-year old student, arrived in the Al-Azraq camp with her family shortly after the camp’s establishment in 2016. She wishes to continue with her education outside the camp, but there are limited prospects for refugee students. She dreams of studying business administration.

Between 2018 and 2022, an average of 385,000 children around the world were born as refugees per year.

Less than two hours away from the border between Jordan and Syria, in a desert area far removed from the surrounding cities, sits Al-Azraq Camp, which hosts approximately 45,000 Syrian refugees, 60% of whom are children.

“I am the one who cooks and who is responsible for everything,” says Balqees.

Her father remarried after her mom passed away, leaving her to take care of the family as the second eldest child.

CARE is the main service provider in Al-Azraq camp that includes psychosocial support, case management and referrals, vocational trainings, developing business opportunities for refugees, community outreach, day care services, recreational activities, online learning, and higher education.

The debris of a cultural center in Ukraine stand as a testament to the harrowing Ukraine-Russia conflict. Photo: Raegan Hodge/CARE

Driving to safety

“As soon as the war broke out, I knew we had to leave Kyiv immediately. We drove through Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, and finally found a place to stay in Warsaw.

“I came to Warsaw to build a new life.”

“I miss my father and grandmother a lot. They stayed back in Ukraine. My dad has joined the army and it adds extra worries and stress, but I’m proud of him. He is 63 and could have come with us, but he chose to defend our country.”

In collaboration with Polish NGOs, CARE helps Ukrainian refugees by providing services across multiple sectors including cash assistance, support for accommodation, cash-for-work programs that hire Ukrainian teachers in Polish schools.

Daria Khrystenko, a refugee from Ukraine, now works with CARE in Poland. Photo: Raegan Hodge/CARE

In their own words

“I ask countries that receive refugees to give them papers, make them feel safe and stable. This feeling of security is everyone’s right. My wish is to live in a place where I feel stable and safe, where I am treated as a person with ambition, and where I can work within the field that I love, the media.” – Hussein, Syrian refugee in Türkiye

“I hope this conflict ends soon and Ukraine will prosper and rebuild quickly.”Dariya, Ukranian refugee in Poland

“Refugees challenge racism, poverty, and alienation. I wish for a better future for our children and that they will not have to face the racism we had to face. I hope that justice and equality will prevail in every corner of the world, “On this earth what makes life worth living.”Leen, Palestinian-Syrian refugee in Türkiye

“If I had an eraser, I would have erased all the days of sorrow.”Wouroud Ramadan, Syrian refugee in Lebanon

Back to Top