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From Refugee to Writer


From Refugee to Writer

Khaled Hosseini, the acclaimed author and former Afghan refugee, visits Syrians who fled to Iraq – including an aspiring young female writer.
2 April 2014
The former Afghan refugee at Darashakran camp in northern Iraq.

On a recent visit to the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, the best-selling author Khaled Hosseini met a number of Syrian refugees who impressed him with their resilience and resourcefulness. Hosseini, who was himself a refugee from Afghanistan, made the visit in his capacity as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.

In this video, he meets 16-year-old Payman, an aspiring young writer. Although she has not been able to attend school since she fled Syria, she continues to write essays and fiction to help make sense of her experience. And he visits Nayleen, a mother of three who opened a beauty salon in Kawergosk camp to provide much-needed income for her family. Her husband was injured in a mortar attack in Syria and is unable to work.

"Everywhere I go, I am struck with the resilience of people," Hosseini says. "This resonates with me and I feel some sense of kinship, some part of my own background, my own family story. I have always found something in common with them no matter how different our backgrounds are."