Birth Certificate

When refugees flee violence, most are forced to leave behind their birth certificates. Without this legal document, they can be denied access to basic services. Your generosity can help refugees reclaim their identities — and rebuild their lives.


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Thanks to generous donor support, refugees receive vital legal documents

 

When civil war erupted in 2013, Ariat fled her home in South Sudan. She carried her youngest baby in a basket over her head, wrapped her other child on her back “and fled for my life,” she said.

When civil war erupted in 2013, Ariat fled her home in South Sudan. She carried her youngest baby in a basket over her head, wrapped her other child on her back "and fled for my life," she said. There was no time to gather birth certificates.

After reaching safety in Ethiopia, she worked hard to rebuild her family's life. Soon, though, she discovered how difficult it was to access services without documents to confirm her and her children’s identities.

Without a birth certificate, Ariat was barred from registering her daughter for school. She persisted, ultimately convincing the school’s director to help her. “This is why birth certificates are important,” she said.

Without a birth certificate, Ariat was barred from registering her daughter for school. She persisted, ultimately convincing the school’s director to help her. "This is why birth certificates are important," she said.

"This is like life for us, it is our identity."

In partnership with the government of Ethiopia, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is helping refugees obtain these vital documents. Ariat's 18-day-old son, Angakuny, was among the first refugee children in Ethiopia to receive a birth certificate.

"I am more than happy that my son is among the first South Sudanese refugees here to be recognized and given a legal document," Ariat said. "This is like life for us, it is our identity."

With his birth certificate — and thanks to the generosity of caring Americans — little Angakuny has a chance for a brighter future.

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We promise to honor your generosity and use your donation in the most effective way possible to help refugees. The catalog items shown reflect periodic surveys of the countries UNHCR operates in and represent both the need and price of critical aid items. Although each item is representative of the gift category in which it appears, donations will be used to provide assistance where it is needed most.

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