Tag: Refugee Crisis

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

Replace Fear with Kindness on World Refugee Day

A few short weeks ago, I visited the home of a single mother to three boys. She sat quietly next to me and we tried to nonverbally communicate through a series of smiles, nervous laughter and gestures. She reminded me of other mothers; strong, caring and loving. The difference between this mother and other mothers I know is that she led her children out of Syria to safety in Lebanon after her husband was killed. Her children have witnessed war, death and destruction, but life must go on for this family. With no home to call their own; they are stateless.

They are refugees.

My new friend and her family join 65.3 million other individuals who have been displaced from their homes due to war, conflict or climate change. Nearly 1 in every 100 persons around the world are displaced from their homes and, on average, people remain displaced from their homes for 17 years. For my friend, this means she must plan a new future for her children: one that will occur outside the comfort of her own home.

Today, and everyday, we celebrate my new friend and the millions of other refugees around the world who are learning new languages, navigating differences in cultures and dreaming new futures for their children. We lift up their courage and strength, and trade fear for kindness.

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In the News

World Refugee Day

Wars, conflict and persecution have forced more people to flee their homes and seek refuge and safety elsewhere than at any other time in recorded history. Today, there are 65 million refugees, more than half of whom are children. It is the greatest humanitarian crisis since WWII — and it will be the crisis that defines my generation.

Refugees are afraid, desperate, and often have nowhere to go. They’ve narrowly escaped the bombs and bullets, just to be slowly tormented on the inside by the humiliation of being chased away like criminals. Refugees are lost: physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Since the start of the crisis, Convoy of Hope has been able to help nearly 80,000 refugees with life-saving food rations, warm blankets and a message of hope in the Middle East and all along the route that refugees take to reach a safe haven. We are currently implementing an emergency-based Children’s Feeding Initiative for 350 hungry refugee children in Lebanon. This means these children can now attend school without worrying about having to try and earn a bit of money just so they can eat that day.  This might be the first time some have ever attended school. Many families have been in these refugee camps since the start of Syria’s civil war in 2011, causing this group of children to be called “the lost generation.”

Today, we celebrate the courage and strength of the 65 million displaced people around the world; it inspires us to work hard for the 30 million children who deserve their childhood.

You can help support Convoy of Hope.
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Children's Feeding / In the News / Program Updates

Ukrainian Refugees Receive Help from COHEU

Recently, for the first time in program history, Convoy of Hope (COHEU) hosted an outreach event in Siberia.

COHEU was granted entrance into Siberia — giving them the opportunity to reach out to Ukrainian refugees living in the area. “Access to the country has been nearly impossible for years,” says Michael McNamee, president of COHEU. “Hosting an event in Siberia is truly a miracle.”

COHEU distributed food, water and supplies to Ukranian refugees in Siberia and also delivered supplies to the orphans and elderly in the community who suffer from low standards of living.

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Partner Spotlight / Program Updates