World Refugee Day 2019

This World Refugee Day, meet the people behind the numbers. Together, let’s #StandWithRefugees.

Share their stories

As a result of the conflict in Syria, there are 5.6 million refugees who have sought refuge in host countries such as Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. 

This World Refugee Day, meet Mohammed, Maysa, Usef, Ahmed and Hoshang – the people behind these numbers. They all had to escape the conflict in Syria, finding shelter in a camp in Iraq.

Despite everything, they managed to regain a sense of normality by doing the things they’ve been doing before the war started.

Share their stories today and show that you #StandWithRefugees in Syria and all around the world.

Share their stories

Who are they?

What is a refugee?

A refugee is a person forced to flee their country because of war, violence or persecution.

Over half of all refugees around the world come from just five countries: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia.

But the refugee crisis is far from over. Every minute, 20 people around the world leave everything behind to escape war, persecution and terror.

They flee in search of a safer place for them and their children, often seeking asylum in other countries.

What is an asylum seeker?

When people flee their own country and seek sanctuary in another country, they apply for asylum. Asylum is the right to be recognized as a refugee and receive legal protection and material assistance.

Source: UNHCR

Meet Mohammed

This is Mohammed. Before the conflict took away his livelihood, he owned a successful barbershop.

After settling in the refugee camp, he opened a barbershop and spent some of his savings on renovating it.

Continuing to cut hair gives Mohammed a purpose and helps him regain a sense of normality.

Show that you stand with refugees by sharing Mohammed’s story.

Soon after Maysa and her family settled in a refugee camp, her husband became ill. 

That meant he could no longer provide for the family. Maysa decided to open a shoe shop to earn some money and make a living in the camp.

The money goes towards preparing her family for winter and making their shelter warmer. Winters in Iraq can be incredibly tough, with temperatures dipping well below freezing in the night. Share Maysa’s story today.

I am proud that I can support my family; even if by support I mean survive.

Meet Hoshang

People don’t become refugees because they have a choice, but because they have to.

Hoshang trained to be a tailor at a very young age and has since been a professional tailor for over 15 years.

Although life’s not easy at the refugee camp, Hoshang is trying to support his family by practising the skills that have been part of him long before the conflict had started. Show that you stand with refugees like Hoshang and spread the word by sharing his story now.

Meet Usef

Usef used to live in the Kurdish region of Syria, where he successfully ran his own shop.

After settling in the camp, he decided to set up another shop, selling children’s clothes to other families in the camp. Making a living in the refugee camp is difficult for Usef, but he is making the most of the situation.

For people like Usef, creating and being part of a community is a way to return to familiar routines and gain a sense of normality. Will you stand with refugees today and help share their stories?

Meet Ahmed

Right before the conflict took away his livelihood and forced him to flee, Ahmed was farming his land.

He’s been fixing washing machines and AC units for families in the refugee camp. He usually gets items or skills in exchange for his work.

He studied to become an electrical technician, but he didn’t have enough money in Syria to start his own business.

There’s barely any work for him in the refugee camp, but doing what he’s doing helps Ahmed feel like part of a community again.

I would like to go back to Syria when it’s peaceful because it’s home.

Man in Iraq

The numbers are increasing

It’s not just Syria where people are being pushed to the brink.

In every corner of the world, families are forced to leave their homes because of violence and war.

In countries like CameroonNigeriaNigerChadEthiopiaSyria and Iraq, conflict is taking away livelihoods. These are some of the countries where we’ve supported families caught up in conflict.

The Conflict in Syria

Working through our in-country partners, we have supported 50,000 families affected by the conflict in Syria and Iraq since 2012.


We’re working in Cameroon, where thousands of families have fled conflict and are now living in Minawao Camp.

The conflict in Iraq

Learn what happened in Iraq, key facts and numbers about the Iraq conflict, and how ShelterBox has responded.