Category: Refugee services

A refugee’s story: 20 years of looking for the people you love


Safet Alic 2

Safet was left starved, bruised and shattered by the Bosnian War. Now a refugee in the UK, he has looked for his loved ones over the last 20 years. Today, the war has long passed – but people are going missing once more in the Balkans.

“They came over with heavy artillery tanks and took our town – killing people, burning houses, taking our stuff. The town was almost razed to the ground. They even killed my grandfather, who was 93.”

Safet Alic is remembering the horrific events that unfolded when he was just 21.

A Bosnian Muslim, Safet grew up in a tight-knit community of friends and family, against a backdrop of growing ethnic tensions and economic problems.

When war broke out across the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, the civilian population in Bosnia was attacked by armed forces.

Looking back on that day, Safet says: “I consider myself very lucky to have survived.”

But the price of survival was a march to a concentration camp. More

The day that everything changed for this refugee girl


Drawing of refugee family home in Syria

When a rocket shattered their home and injured their daughter, Mohammad and Kamaar’s family fled Syria. They thought it would be a short-term move until the fighting stopped.

Three years later, they are living in Glasgow – talking to photographer Conor Ashleigh about starting over as refugees.

Before the war in Syria, Mohammad, Kamaar and their seven children lived a wonderful life.

Mohammad was a very successful businessman. His thriving company employed 25 people. He provided for his family and was proud he could help so many in his community when they were in need.

Mohammad today.

Mohammad shows me photos of his house. A house is an understatement – it is an absolute dream home.

But after building it and living there for only six months, a rocket attack destroyed the house.

The blast left one of his little girls almost completely deaf.

Very quickly, the family’s dream life had become a nightmare.

Please donate to our Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal.


Stories from the refugees on Europe’s doorstep


Refugees give their details to Red Cross family tracing teams as they arrive in SicilyThe weather is turning but for refugees, there is no going back. Many people feel they have no choice but to brave the cold and make the treacherous journey to Europe. 

Most of the world’s refugees aren’t in Europe, but those that do head here face long and difficult journeys.

They often travel across multiple countries to get to their destination – places where they already have family or their job skills are needed.

Red Cross volunteers are supporting people in all of the countries they pass through. We’re often the first ones to offer some comfort and help. We’re there in that extraordinary moment as you cross the border: one of fear and elation, exhaustion and hope.

Here are just some of the stories we’re hearing.


The refugee doctor who can’t wait to help you


Amir refugee Sudan doctor

Amir was living a happy and ordinary life in Sudan. He was married with children and had a good job. But a few years ago, he was forced to flee after being tortured, stabbed and left for dead.

Amir Ali Bob lives in the UK with his wife Wegdan and their five children, aged 5 to 13.

Before fleeing Sudan as refugees, Amir was an obstetrician and Wegdan a GP. They are now doing whatever they can to practise as doctors again – taking exams, improving their English – so they can help the country the family now call home.

But how did they get to this point? Amir tells us their story. More

Humans of Syria


The refugee crisis isn’t about statistics, speeches or politicians – it’s about real people fleeing violence and poverty.

Meet six Syrians on the road in Europe. Hear what they’ve survived, and their hopes for the future.

A smiling girl

©John Engedal Nissen / IFRC

Four year old Laila is fleeing with her father and mother, who is four months pregnant.

In Macedonia the family has been given food by Red Cross, including canned sardines – Laila’s favourite. The Red Cross is also giving people here water, toiletries and medical care. More

Top actors swap Macbeth for Madonna, and help refugees


KarengillanpicThis week classically trained actors have been giving cheesey pop songs the Shakespeare treatment – the results are jaw-droppingly silly.

And now these bonkers videos are raising vital money for refugees.

It all started with actor David Fynn – who’s appeared in Game of Thrones and Sherlock, as well as American TV show Undateable.

Using the hashtag #15secondshakespeare, he challenged people to record short videos of themselves reading lines from pop songs as if they were performing the Bard’s plays.


What happens when tourists and refugees share the streets?

© Thomas Andre Syversten/IFRC

© Thomas Andre Syversten/IFRC

Nigel McGrath is watching two worlds collide on the holiday island of Kos. Every day, sun-tanned tourists share the streets with desperate refugees.

The Red Cross aid worker has seen everything from deadly typhoons to the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake – but no emergency quite like this.

Each week hundreds of people arrive on Kos from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and a host of other countries – some of the poorest and most dangerous places on earth. More