Glimmer of hope

2019 has been a year of suffering and distress for millions of refugees and displaced people. We have caught some of the moments that give hope.

The Norwegian Refugee Council is an independent humanitarian organisation helping people forced to flee. We work in crises across more then 30 countries, where we help save lives and rebuild futures.

Read caption NRC's Emergency Coordinator Patoney Frogh together with Salima and Samira. Photo: Ingrid Prestetun

“The best gift ever”

“We have suffered a lot from the cold. Dad said we would get a heater in our new house soon. This is the best gift ever,” say the two Afghan sisters Salima, 6, and Samira, 5, as they move closer to the wood-burning stove.

I met with the two girls and their father Ewaz, 45, as the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) was giving cash assistance to displaced families who need help staying warm through the winter.

Read more about the two sisters and how we make a difference for families forced to flee in Afghanistan.

Read caption Photo: Ingrid Prestetun

How fishing communities are fighting back

“The sea is our source of livelihood. Without the sea we cannot live,” says Suleiman, a 45-year-old fisherman from Hodeidah.

Coastal communities in Yemen have suffered greatly in the ongoing bloody conflict. Fishing boats, ports and processing sites have been destroyed or damaged, and many fishermen have lost their lives. For Suleiman, the risks became too great, and he was forced to flee with his wife and seven children.

Read how we are helping to revive the fishing industry in southern Yemen, rebuilding essential facilities so that fishermen like Suleiman can continue to support their families.

Read caption Leen, 10, a Palestinian Syrian refugee living in Lebanon, with her cat Basbous.

Refugees and their feline friends

“I feel like he is more than a friend, he is like my brother,” says ten-year-old Leen, a Palestinian Syrian refugee living in Lebanon. But who is this special individual? None other than her pet cat, Basbous.

Pets have a special place in the hearts of their owners. They provide affection and companionship, reducing stress levels and alleviating loneliness. For people forced to flee, a pet can be a vital source of comfort.

Read more about how some refugees in Lebanon have developed special relationships with cats far away from their homeland.

Ghena was 4-year-old when she was at the borders with her mother and siblings, she had a fever because of the cold weather, her temperature reached 42C degrees

Photo: Hassan Hijazi/NRC

Ghena finally got back her rights

Seven-year-old Ghena lost all her rights when she and her family fled from Syria to neighbouring Jordan. Now they have finally gained official status as asylum seekers, supported by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

Ghena’s mother, Wejdan, finally knows what freedom feels like. When she fled to Jordan with her five children, she struggled to move around freely and access basic rights – including healthcare for her sick daughter, Ghena.

Read more about how we provide a range of information, counselling and legal assistance programmes – designed to help displaced people to claim their rights and find lasting solutions.

Read caption Sandy, 13, Jorge, 10, and Esteban, 9, dropped out of school after they were forced to flee gang violence in their home neighbourhood. Now, with support from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), they have the chance to study again. Photo: Up Studio/NRC

“Yes, I want to study!”

Sandy’s oldest brother was killed when violent gangs moved into their neighbourhood in Honduras. The family fled, and she and her two remaining brothers dropped out of school. But Sandy was desperate to learn.

All three are shy children. Sandy, 13, Jorge, 10, and Esteban, 9, were not attending school when we first met them. But Sandy, the only girl, wanted desperately to go back to school, and the two brothers were keen to follow.

Read more about how we prepare children to resume educational activities and also help them to gain basic skills to remain safe.