Organization: COH

Fleeing for their lives, refugees are making their way to Europe where Convoy of Hope is helping provide resources, connection and hope. Fleeing for their lives, refugees are making their way to Europe where Convoy of Hope is helping provide resources, connection and hope.

Refugee in Bulgaria finds hope through Convoy

The Convoy of Hope team met Mustafa in the Harmanli refugee camp in Bulgaria in 2016. Mustafa fled his homeland in the Middle East because he was from a minority tribe who suffered from intense persecution. Mustafa was studying to become a doctor when he began to witness acts of genocide against those like him. With no other option, he chose to undertake the arduous route to Europe.

Mustafa had heard there were people who could help him on his journey and decided to contact them. These people assured him that he would reach Germany and be reunited with his wife in four days. After paying a large fee, Mustafa waited for their direction.

His first step was to ride in the trunk of a small vehicle along with nine other adults, hidden and crammed against each other. In the heat of the summer, and without being able to eat or drink for four days, Mustafa drew his strength from the thought of seeing his wife again.

Once the car reached the border, Mustafa was kidnapped by his own traffickers. They demanded an extra sum of money from his family back home before he could proceed in his journey. He was forced to spend seven days with 40 other men in a small room with no windows or light and one toilet. They weren’t given food or water during their ordeal and were forced to drink from the toilet to stay hydrated. Finally, his family paid the additional money, and Mustafa was set free.

Despite these incredible hardships, Mustafa was set on reaching Germany. He decided to continue his route through what he refers to as “the jungle,” which are actually the forests of Eastern Europe. Weak, starving, and cold, Mustafa was eventually caught and turned in to the police. After being beaten and held for two days, Mustafa was released.

Mustafa arrived at the refugee camp in Harmali, Bulgaria, and found the Oasis Center, where Convoy of Hope and its partners distribute food to refugees. For the first time in his personal nightmare, someone reached out in kindness. Mustafa now works alongside Convoy and our partners to distribute food and clothing to the rest of the refugees in the camp. He shared with us that he feels his hope has been restored.

***This story was originally reported in 2016. Three years later, with the support of Convoy’s partners in Bulgaria, Mustafa made it to Germany and was reunited with his wife. He has received asylum there. Some details, including his name, have been changed or generalized to protect Mustafa’s privacy.

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Advocacy / Field Story / Inspiration / News

World Refugee Day: Faaiza’s Story

Faaiza is eight years old. Her father holds her close, explains the plan one last time and then tearfully leaves her behind. She watches her parents and siblings make their way through the chaos of the Syrian border into Lebanon. Trucks rumble past and the crowd presses around her, blocking her view. And suddenly, Faaiza’s family is gone — and she is alone.

“My papers were not in order, so they let everyone in my family through except for me,” Faaiza recalls. “I was stuck on the other side of the Syrian border.” This is the life of a refugee. Faaiza’s neighborhood near Aleppo exploded into violence four days before. Having no time to prepare, they fled with all their hands could carry. Their only comfort was the fact they were alive and together — at least until they reached the border.

Stepping out of the view of the guards, Faaiza reaches down and pulls up a handful of dirt from her homeland — Syria. She rubs it on her face and hands, smearing it with the sweat from her long journey. Faaiza tears her clothes and completes the disguise. In just a few moments, she has reduced herself from the daughter of a middle class Syrian plumber to a beggar. With her hands outstretched and her eyes on the barbed wire fence — the only thing separating her from her family — she slips past the guards, crossing into Lebanon by herself. “God helped me find my family,” she says. “He didn’t leave me by myself.”

Convoy of Hope’s team met Faaiza a few years ago as we handed her a small space heater to protect her family from freezing temperatures. Her warm smile cut through the cold wind blowing about the dilapidated Beirut neighborhood where her family lives. For the last few years, Faaiza and her family have been scraping together the pieces of their lives. But, they now have hope for a brighter future. As our team says goodbye to Faaiza, the girl who navigated the border by herself, she turns to her mother and holds out the small space heater. She wants to offer it to another family in their neighborhood whose house isn’t as warm as theirs. Despite all she’s been through, Faaiza’s kindness has never waned.

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Advocacy / Field Story / News

Convoy of Hope Mid-Year Update

Convoy of Hope continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Since its founding in 1994, Convoy of Hope has been committed to helping those in need around the world. To date, we have worked with more than 46,000 partners to serve 115 million people in more than 125 countries. Our work would not be possible without the faithful dedication and generosity of churches, organizations, and individuals who believe in our mission to serve the hurting.

So far, 2019 has been a busy year! Already, we have responded to disasters, held Community Events across the United States, and hosted Field Teams around the world — all in addition to our ongoing work in 14 program countries. Our incredible field staff and network of global partners continue feeding children in schools, empowering female entrepreneurs, and training farmers in agricultural best practices.

In the coming months, we will engage even more volunteers and continue expanding our international programming. We’re especially looking forward to the upcoming release of Hal Donaldson’s (CEO/Founder) new book, Disruptive Compassion. In this book, Hal challenges readers with the question “What’s holding you back from becoming the revolutionary you were born to be?”  Taking readers with him on his personal journey through struggle and doubt, Hal shares the untold story of Convoy of Hope and invites us into a life of disruptive compassion.

As we continue celebrating 25 years of spreading hope we can’t help but eagerly look ahead. There are more people to be helped, and Convoy wants to be ready to respond no matter the time, place, or circumstance. Whether in the aftermath of a cyclone or a supply shortage at the border, we want to be there for the people who need us most. Because that’s not just what we do — it’s who we are.

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In the News / News / Program Updates

Disruptive Compassion: Convoy of Hope CEO to release new book

Hal Donaldson, Convoy of Hope founder and CEO, is releasing his new book “Disruptive Compassion: Becoming The Revolutionary You Were Born To Be” on July 9, 2019. In “Disruptive Compassion,” Donaldson makes the bold claim that we possess the power to provoke real and meaningful change.

More than 25 years ago, Donaldson went on a journey to make a difference. What began as a personal quest led to starting Convoy of Hope, which has now served more than 115 million people.

With raw and inspiring stories from the world’s most desperate places and his own journey to find meaning, Donaldson takes readers on a tour along the frontlines of courage and compassion. He provides a crash course in what it takes to become a revolutionary and shows us how to evaluate the resources we already have, navigate real concerns and risks, and ultimately become equipped as agitators with purpose.

“Hopefully this book will help you discover what you were born to do and equip you to confront the status quo through disruptive compassion,” says Donaldson. “I know that ‘change the world’ sounds like a campaign slogan. We’ve heard it repeated until we no longer believe it’s achievable. In this book, ‘change the world’ denotes a direction rather than a destination. ‘Disruptive Compassion’ is your invitation to move beyond pity, helplessness and outrage. It’s your playbook for making a difference right where you are with what you have.”

Click here to preorder your copy.

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