All around the world UNHCR is there to provide assistance to men, women and children who have been forced to flee wars, violence and persecution and leave everything behind. With your help we provide shelter, safety and protection to families who have experienced unspeakable tragedies, here are some of their stories.
Jamila: Trying to keep her family together
“There were three attacks”, says Jamila, clutching her youngest son Mahamoud Jaber, as she explains why she was forced to flee her home in Myanmar. Armed men attacked and burned 85 houses in Jamila’s village, sending families like hers running for their lives. Jamila lost her husband to a landmine the men left behind in the attacks.
With her daughter Hamida (nine), and her sons Mahamoud Jubai (seven), and Mahamoud Jaber (four), she escaped to a neighbouring village where they hid for four days. After a hard journey, Jamila, her children and her injured brother, Sultan Ahmed, 60, finally reached safety in Bangladesh.
Now temporarily staying at UNHCR’s transit centre near Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar district, the family urgently needs shelter, basic supplies and access to medical care. “We received some food and a jerry can but we need everything: a cooking stove, clothes, shelter. Everything.”
A widow with three young children, Jamila is anxious about how she will manage. “I don’t have any older sons, my brother is all I have and he is unable to work. We need help to build our house.”
Jamila’s priority, like any mother, is the welfare of her family. She hopes to get a shelter where she can live together with her brother, who is injured and has no one else to care for him.
UNHCR is on the ground in Bangladesh, providing life-saving aid to hundreds of thousands of refugees like Jamila. The greatest priority is to provide emergency shelters to refugees who are arriving. But we can’t do it alone. That is why your donation is so important. By donating today you can help refugees like Jamila and her family find safety and shelter, you can save lives.
Mahmoud & Rouhlat: A young couple hoping for a normal life
“We were looking for security and safety,” says 26-year-old Mahmoud when you ask him why he fled the war in Syria five years ago, with his wife Rouhlat, 21. The young couple came to Lebanon with nothing more than the clothes on their back. Originally from Homs, they now live with their daughters Soundens, 4, and Nawal, 3 – both born in exile – in an informal settlement in the Bekaa Valley.
They received a shelter kit from UNHCR as well as winter cash assistance to buy fuel and other essentials to survive the cold, harsh winter. “The tent was in a terrible state”, says Mahmoud, explaining that after receiving the shelter kit, it felt “like someone was drowning and was finally saved”. “It gave us a little warmth. Before it was leaking and letting in very cold wind.”
Like any mother, Rouhlat still worries about her young daughters’ health, especially Soundens. “She has asthma and gets sick a lot from the cold”, she explains. “At night it gets very cold here.” Her only hopes are for her children to grow up healthy and get an education and for peace to come to Syria so they can go finally back home.
Through cash assistance UNHCR supports refugee families in buying what they need the most while supporting the local community. By giving people who have been forced to leave everything behind the ability to make their own choices you guaranty that donations are well invested - in people who know their needs better than anyone else. By donating now you can give a family of refugees the power to choose and restore their dignity.
Aisha Christie: “It was for us to start a new life – and we did.”
When conflict broke out in Aisha’s hometown, she didn’t have the money to transport her family out of the city. While desperately watching people leave the community, she went about her daily routine and prayed for the situation to calm down. But it didn’t. Instead, the violence increased. Fearing for her children’s lives, she was forced to flee with help from her uncle.
As a single mother caring for her own children and two nephews, her journey was a dangerous one. “They attacked us, they wanted to kill us even. But I was holding a small baby. When they saw me like this, they just asked me to go.”
The family finally made it to safety in Uganda, where they were welcomed by UNHCR staff who provided them with an Emergency Shelter Kit.
Through great determination, and with help from UNHCR, she began working diligently to build a more durable shelter. Now she has an impressive new shelter and is able to earn her family money and extra food by fetching water for other families.
“I encouraged the children. I told them things will be better. Because something happened in our home, that’s why we came here for safety. But in time things will be alright.”
A semi-permanent shelter, like the one Aisha was able to build with the help of UNHCR is a more durable structure made of local materials that protects refugee families from the elements.
Your donation can help a reufgee family build a respectable and durable shelter that can protect them from the pouring rain and the scorching heat. Donate today and help refugees like Aisha hold on to the hope of a brighter future.