National Activity Plan 2006: Denmark, Finland, Lithuania and Sweden

World Refugee Day, 20 June 2006

  • Collect from the state church / Danske Folkekirke on Sunday 18 June. (Denmark).
  • Information and fundraising campaigns in other religious communities, including Muslim community and non state Christian churches. (Denmark).
  • Debate in the parliament organized by Islamic and Christian Organizations. (Denmark).
  • Finnish Refugee Council and Amnesty International will organize nightly walks in cities all around Finland to symbolize the effort many refugee children have to make every day in order to get access to shelter and school. (Finland).
  • Seminar on African refugees in the Finnish parliament. (Finland).
  • Médecins sans Frontières and Clowns without Borders will develop a spring campaign to inform schools and others about refugee issues, and to promote student participation in a fundraising event 10 May (Sweden).
  • Mayor event to be organized in a main square of Stockholm with artists. (Sweden).
  • Main ceremony to be organized in Stockholm, with prominent participants, together with main religious communities in the country. (Sweden).
  • Participate at the Tylösand Conference which focuses on integration. The participants are municipality politicians from the whole country. (Sweden).
  • Organization of workshop or seminar for politicians in Gotland together with UNDP and the UN-Association. One week public awareness campaign. (Sweden).
  • In the Refugee Centre, events such as discussion clubs, to talk about integration from the refugee point of view, refugee women and children, tolerance and non-discrimination will be organized. Language classes will be organized for the guests. Also there will be a press conference and a National cuisine fair. (Lithuania).
  • Public concert with participation of refugees and famous singers/groups. (Lithuania).
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UNHCR country pages

Jihan's Story

Like millions, 34-year-old Jihan was willing to risk everything in order to escape war-torn Syria and find safety for her family. Unlike most, she is blind.

Nine months ago, she fled Damascus with her husband, Ashraf, 35, who is also losing his sight. Together with their two sons, they made their way to Turkey, boarding a boat with 40 others and setting out on the Mediterranean Sea. They hoped the journey would take eight hours. There was no guarantee they would make it alive.

After a treacherous voyage that lasted 45 hours, the family finally arrived at a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, called Milos - miles off course. Without support or assistance, they had to find their own way to Athens.

The police detained them for four days upon their arrival. They were cautioned to stay out of Athens, as well as three other Greek cities, leaving them stranded.

By now destitute and exhausted, the family were forced to split up - with Ashraf continuing the journey northwards in search of asylum and Jihan taking their two sons to Lavrion, an informal settlement about an hour's drive from the Greek capital.

Today, Jihan can only wait to be reunited with her husband, who has since been granted asylum in Denmark. The single room she shares with her two sons, Ahmed, 5, and Mohammad, 7, is tiny, and she worries about their education. Without an urgent, highly complex corneal transplant, her left eye will close forever.

"We came here for a better life and to find people who might better understand our situation," she says, sadly. "I am so upset when I see how little they do [understand]."

Jihan's Story

Sweden: Mahmoud's EscapePlay video

Sweden: Mahmoud's Escape

Mahmoud was one of more than 300,000 Syrian refugees who have sought safety in Egypt since the conflict in his homeland began three years ago. The nine-year-old was so desperate to attend school that he risked his life to get to Europe. He was stopped and sent back to Egypt but is now making a fresh start in Sweden.