Category: Refugee services

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

Why do we help refugees and migrants?

Syrian refugees Rania and Judy © Thomas Andre Syvertsen/Norwegian Red Cross

Syrian refugees Rania and Judy © Thomas Andre Syvertsen/Norwegian Red Cross

With so many problems in the world, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. We all want to help other people, but none of us can fix everything for everyone.

At the Red Cross we face this challenge – where to put our money and effort – every day.

But we have something that makes the decision much easier. Our seven Fundamental Principles.

These bold, brilliant ideas are 50 years old next month. But they still guide our work around the world, letting us do things no other organisation can. More

What you need to know about the refugee crisis – in just four graphs

Syrian family, after arriving in Macedonia. © Stephen Ryan and IFRC

Syrian family in Macedonia, August 2015. © Stephen Ryan and IFRC

Millions of people are running for their lives from war and oppression. For some, a long journey to safety will take them to Europe. Find out more about the refugees who make it here, with a few helpful graphs and charts.   

There are now 19.5 million people refugees in the world – and more than half are children. That’s the largest movement of people since the Second World War.

Their journeys to safety are not only difficult. They are deadly. And a minority will end up in Europe, tired and desperate to rebuild their lives.

So what are the facts we need to know about the refugees on our doorstep?

Donate to the Europe Refugee Crisis Appeal More