Refugee testimonies on resettlement

The Story of Mahmoud, a Syrian boy Resettled to Sweden

In the autumn of 2012, Mahmoud, then nine years of age, and his family fled their hometown of Aleppo, Syria and settled in Egypt, where they rented a small apartment in Cairo. However, with a change in government in June 2013, public opinion soon turned against those Syrians seeking refuge in Egypt.

Mahmoud started to be bullied by boys from his neighbourhood, and was at one point even physically attacked. Afraid for his life and unable to attend school, Mahmoud refused to leave the apartment and instead chose to help his father, who was struggling to make ends meet by selling bread to neighbours. In desperation, Mahmoud’s father, seeing no future for his son in Egypt and concerned for his safety, put Mahmoud on an illegal boat bound for Italy – alone.

To read more on Mahmoud’s story, click here.

You can also view three separate videos on Mahmoud’s story at the following links:

Mahmoud in Egypt

Mahmoud in Sweden

Sweden: Mahmoud's Escape


Refugee Voices by UK National Network Focal Point Refugee Action

Haider is first and foremost an artist. But in war-torn Iraq, art didn’t pay the bills.  So, having learnt English thanks to his English teacher father, he also worked as an interpreter. Haider lived in Basra, southern Iraq.  His first jobs after graduating were short-term interpreting contracts with British security companies. "There was no risk at that time. It was quiet in those days in the south," he says.  Haider’s life changed as the security situation worsened.  To read more of his story, click here.

Abdi was born in Somalia.  When he was nine, war forced his family to flee to Kenya.  “There was no water and no food,” he remembers.  “People were dying on the road; old people were being left behind”.  Eventually, they reached Dadaab, now the largest refugee camp in the world.  Abdi remembers people searching for their relatives, “trying to find out who’s dead and who’s alive”. To continue reading his story, click here.

Watch the interview below produced by Refugee Action, UK National Network Focal Point,  to learn more about Abdi and his experience living in Dadaab Refugee Camp.

Farid - A young champion and a prize-winning Afghan refugee

Farid, a young Afghan refugee resettled to Portugal in 2012, was separated from his family due to the conflict in Afghanistan. He has since become a national boxing champion in Portugal and the recipient of a human rights medal from the Portuguese Parliament, serving as an inspiration to others. Click here to read more.


Blog: Resettlement in Pictures

For a year, the photographer Pauline Willot will follow the lives of Timiza and her children Victoire, Peter, Sophie and Massou, who arrived in Belgium under the resettlement programme. In 2014, they will have to find their way in Belgium with the help of the Integration Cell of Caritas International. Read more about their experiences in Dutch and in French.

Click here to read an interview conducted with the family.

A Burmese woman resettled to Finland recounts her experience...

"We applied for asylum in Finland through the UN Refugee Resettlement Programme. In December 2000 we arrived and were met by darkness and a temperature of -30 degrees Celsius. It was a major shock...." Read more...


Two refugee families resettled to France tell their experiences

To read the interviews in French, click here.

Interview with Mrs. Yassin Aden: Mrs. Yassin Aden is from Somalia. She fled her country in 2006 to seek shelter in Eritrea. She was resettled to France with her 3 children in November 2011. Read more...

Interview with Mr. and Mrs. Yosaf: Mr. and Mrs. Yosaf are from Iraq. They arrived in France in October 2010 within the framework of the ad hoc resettlement operation for Assyrian-Chaldean Iraqis. They have 2 sons: one came with them at the age of 3; the youngest one was born in France. Read more...

Extract from Forum-Réfugiés-Cosis Newsletter no57, November 2012.

'6954 Kilometres to Home' - a refugee family's resettlement journey to Finland

Mukamusoni and her family fled the Congo Civil War in 1996 when she was just 10 years old, and lived in the Kiziba refugee camp in Rwanda.  Single mother Mukamusoni and her three children were accepted for resettlement by Finland as quota refugees and waited 3 years to make the journey to Finland.  Directed by Juan Reina, the Tampere Film Festival prize-winning film 6954 Kilometres to Home depicts Makamusoni's family's journey from the Kiziba refugee camp in Rwanda to Finland in 2012. Read more...

Below is a 15-minute excerpt of the film.

Emergency Resettlement to the Netherlands – a Refugee Family’s Story

F. M. is a human rights activist and a member of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan. He acted as a non-lawyer, human rights defender, providing legal advice and consultations with people whose rights were violated. He also participated in peaceful public protests to call attention to the worsening human rights situation in Uzbekistan. Over the last 8 years, Uzbek authorities increasingly controlled the activities of human rights defenders and independent journalists, particularly after the Andijan massacre in 2005… Read more

Pathway to Protection - the Rai family's resettlement journey to Australia

Ever wondered what it’s like to grow up in a refugee camp and then leave to be resettled in a new country? Tek and Padam Maya Rai talk about their experiences growing up in the Beldangi camp in Nepal, overcoming the hardships and re-building a new family. They reflect on the day they left the camp and their mixed emotions about leaving to start their new life in Australia. They found comfort in the knowledge they had learnt with the Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO) trainers and what would be available for them in Launceston.

From refugee to resettlement - showcasing the journey to Australia on social media. Read more