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Lebanon / Syrian Refugees / 3 year-old Ashraf, and his brother Hany, pictured outside their family's shelter at an informal tented settlement in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, on 12 March 2014. Ashraf was born on 15th March 2011, on the same day that Syria's conflict began. For the first 2 years of his life he grew up under ever-increasingly violence as the conflict escalated into outright civil war. One year ago his family, including his mother and father, 4 brothers and 2 sisters left there home on the outskirts of Homs and fled across the border to Lebanon. They now live in a makeshift shelter just off the main road that leads to Damascus. Ashraf's family speak of a small boy who loves nothing more than to run through the settlement but also of the fear of loud noises and the trauma of the memories he still holds from those days inside Syria. Hany was a talented student in Syria and his most precious possessions now are his high school diplomas. Holding them proudly he says, "These are my life, they are my future. I left everything behind in Syria, but not these." Hany had wanted to go to university to study to be a communications engineer but the war prevented any hope of further education. Competent in English Hany taught himself the language from songs and movies and the internet, he is a keen poet and at recitation in his shelter members of the audience were visibly moved by his words. "Poetry is a part of me," says Hany, "I do it to complete my emotions." With all this potential and passion for the world Hany spends his days in the small shelter with his phone and occasional internet connection as his only means of escape. The monotony burdens him deeply and it is with a heavy sadness that he adds, "I'm wasting a lot of time here, I cannot achieve my dreams." / UNHCR / A. McConnell / March 2014

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A UNHCR staff member comforts a young refugee boy after his boat landed on the Greek island of Lesvos. ; Over one million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe by sea in 2015. An overwhelming majority were fleeing war and persecution. More than 80 percent of those who survived the crossing came from the world’s top refugee-producing countries.