Tag: day of the disappeared

Day of the disappeared: see the moment loved ones are reunited

Mohammdau waits to board a flight

Mohammadu waits to board a flight to be reunited with his stepfather, who he hasn’t seen in two years. Photo credit: Rahima Gambo / British Red Cross.

In the chaos of an armed attack, you might only have seconds to escape with your life. Yet surviving can feel bittersweet if you become separated from loved ones in the process.

This may sound surreal but it is a real experience shared by many living in Africa’s Lake Chad region. Years of armed conflict originating in Nigeria have torn families apart.

Today marks International Day of the Disappeared – a day where we recognise the thousands of people still missing.

But we also have a positive story to share which shows the moment loved ones are finally reunited.

Over two years ago, 15-year-old Mohammadu fled alone from the conflict in Nigeria to Chad. He left behind his mother, stepfather and other siblings. He hadn’t seen any of them since then – until recently.


Long-lost family helped me move on after losing my parents


Chris Gray

After her parents died, Chris Gray felt the time was right to look for some long-lost relatives in Myanmar. She didn’t know that finding them would help her to move on with her life.

Chris, 62, is talking about how her mother ended up in the UK – and it’s an incredible story.

Born in Burma (now Myanmar) of Karen ethnicity, Dorothy Dawson was the daughter of a colonial customs officer.

During the Second World War, still only a teenager, Dorothy was separated from her family.

She joined thousands of other refugees as they made a 310-mile trek – on foot – through the jungle to India, fleeing Japanese invaders. Thousands perished on the way, but Dorothy made it to safety.

After the war, Dorothy returned to Burma and was reunited with her brother, Peter, and their mother.

Soon afterwards, Dorothy met John Gray: a British army officer who had stayed in the country after the war. Within a few months, the pair were married.

On 4 January 1948, the day Burma celebrated independence, the couple returned to England to start their new life together.

But just a few years later, life in her home country would take a turn for the worse. More

Finding the family you never even knew you had

Susan looks at old family photographs in her home

© Sam Whitwham/British Red Cross

Susan knew very little about her dad, who disappeared at the end of the Second World War. When she started to look for him, over 50 years later, she found more than she could have ever imagined.

When Susan was a little girl, her favourite possession was a small sepia photograph of her father. The last time she’d seen him, she was just five months old.

Susan treasured this photo and the few facts she knew – but, as she got older, it wasn’t enough.

In the years that followed, terrible and traumatic life events would push Susan to look for the dad she’d never known.

She had no idea that the search would end up with her finding a whole new family. More

‘I was so worried about my family, I couldn’t eat’


Saytun Ali As a teenager, Saytun Ali was forced to flee her hometown in Somalia after sudden violence – without even saying goodbye to her loved ones.

Although she soon settled into life in London, she often thought about her family and what had happened – until, after more than two years apart, the British Red Cross helped her find them. More