He lost everything, but still helps others

Mohamed lives the spirit of giving by helping his fellow refugees

March 30, 2017

When conflict arrived to Mohamed’s small town just south of Damascus, there was no choice but to flee. Their hometown devastated, Mohamed Dhib, his wife Maysoun and their four children left loved ones, belongings and livelihoods.

Their escape from Syria was a harrowing journey. They crossed Turkey and then the Aegean Sea on an inflatable boat. Along the way they slept outside in the elements, night after night in the rain and at one point were shot at while crossing a border.

They finally found safety at Kara Tepe, a UNHCR-supported housing site on Greece’s island of Lesvos.


Eager to make his family feel settled and comfortable, Mohamed started small. A swing for his children, a small patch of earth for a garden – small transformations like these made Mohamed’s family shelter feel more like a home. Soon, his children were playing and then there were green beans, zucchini, onions, herbs and watermelons.

We don’t want to wait without anything to do.
We need to work, we need to be something in this world.


As an electrician and plumber, Mohamed volunteered to use his skills to help UNHCR build prefabricated houses at Kara Tepe. UNHCR provides power to the housing units through solar panels, which Mohamed helped install. Mohamed’s hard work and compassion benefits not only his family, but the entire Kara Tepe community.

Greece. New accommodation for refugees in Lesvos

Compared to the tents they replaced, these structures were safer, roomier and provided better protection from the weather. They also helped refugee families create the semblance of normalcy they desperately need.


In October, thanks to USA for UHNCR donor support, the Dhibs relocated to a private apartment in a town close to Kara Tepe. They have been granted refugee status and a three-year visa to stay in Greece.

Greece. The Syrian electrician installing solar power at Lesvos refugee camp

Oldest daughters Limar and Alissar have started school and are quickly learning Greek. Hoping to soon to find paid work as a handyman, Mohamed continues to volunteer at Kara Tepe, where he keeps his skills sharp and enjoys the community.

Mohamed, the Syrian electrician, installing solar power at Lesbos refugee camp in Greece.

Now it’s a new life, a new future,
for me, for my wife, for my children.

Now in its seventh year, the Syrian conflict continues to force families like Dhibs to flee, but with a little help these families can rebuild and improve their communities. Famine in South Sudan and other crises around the world are also putting children, women and men in grave danger. With generous donor support, the UN Refugee Agency will provide the protection, food, shelter and other humanitarian aid that refugees around the world need.

Your help is urgently needed …

As a USA for UNHCR monthly donor, you can make sure that refugee families like the Dhibs are protected — and can dream of a safer future. It’s the most effective and efficient way you can help – Start your gifts today.