"They leave with a new purpose to their lives, full of ambition, hope and love."

For her lifetime's work helping children recover from sexual exploitation in Colombia's Caribbean coastal region, Mayerlin Vegara Perez, 45, has been named UNHCR's Nansen Refugee Award Laureate 2020.
© UNHCR/Nicolo Filippo Rosso

Nansen Refugee Award

Established in 1954, the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award honours individuals, groups and organizations who go above and beyond the call of duty to protect refugees, displaced and stateless people.


Established in 1954, the UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award honours individuals, groups and organizations who go above and beyond the call of duty to protect refugees, displaced and stateless people.

The 2021 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award Ceremony will be held on 4 October. We will be honouring the Laureate with a star-studded lineup of artists and speakers contributing from all over the globe. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive notifications about the Ceremony.

This year’s laureate and regional winners will be announced ahead of the ceremony on September 29th. In the meantime, you can read the inspirational story of our 2020 Laureate, Mayerlín Vergara Pérez.

Mayerlín (known as Maye) is a human rights activist, campaigner and the Caribbean Regional Coordinator for the Renacer Foundation. The Renacer Foundation is a non-governmental organization in Colombia working for decades to eradicate the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents, many of whom are refugees.

Meet Mayerlín