Refugees are counting on love this Valentine’s Day

Syrian refugee Samira, 38, holds her six-month-old niece Mona alongside her husband Khaled, 45, a Palestinian refugee displaced from Syria, on the floor of the apartment they share with their family in a substandard building in Barelias, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

February is the month we celebrate love — and the support USA for UNHCR donors provide to people at their most vulnerable is a form of love. Here are four stories of how the power of love and your support are helping refugees rebuild their lives.

Samira and Khalid: Counting On Love

Khaled, 45, a Palestinian refugee displaced from Syria, and his wife Samira, 38, a Syrian refugee, sit on the floor of the apartment they share with their family.

When Samira and Khalid got married six years ago, they were thrilled to start their lives together. They expected adventures as newlyweds do — moving in together, starting a family, learning each other’s quirks — but not war.

“When your house collapses, you can’t think of collecting any items before you leave, you just run away,” Khalid says.

Even in the cold of winter — Samira has not lost her warmth. “What keeps us going is that we love each other so much,” she shares while looking at her husband with a smile.

Before receiving winter assistance from UNHCR, Samira and Khalid’s home in Lebanon barely qualified as a shelter. With no toilets, running water, or even a front door, their surroundings only served as a daily reminder of what they had lost. Because of support from USA for UNHCR donors, they now have proper windows, doors and sanitation facilities, creating a home worthy of the couple.

Guy and Giselle: A Match Made In Mahama

Guy and Giselle take a moment out of their impromptu fashion show. They are both part of a modelling agency which they have set up with others in Mahama Refugee Camp called Top Family Models Agency.

These lovebirds met at Mahama refugee camp in Rwanda, where they joined fellow aspiring models to set up Top Family Models Agency. Giselle told UNHCR that the collective “taught us how to be a family: we are one, we are family. And the love between us and all of our team is so special.” These inspirational young refugees show that love, whether between family, friends or a model power-couple, always triumphs against all odds.

Um Murad: Giving Refugees a Wedding to Remember

Syrian refugee Um Murad works behind-the-scenes in her wedding shop in Za'atari refugee camp.

When her home was destroyed by bombs and her husband was paralyzed by snipers, Um Murad and her family fled to Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan. Um Murad left behind her wedding business in Syria, but she didn’t close shop. She did the exact opposite. To support her injured husband and six children, Um Murad opened a wedding shop in the camp with support from UNHCR, offering dresses and beauty treatments to brides-to-be. In her first 13 months of business, Um Murad prepared more than 700 brides for their special day, proving that love is a force far stronger than bullets or borders.

Lina and Prokofiy: Sticking Together Through Thick and Thin

Lina, 78 and her husband Prokofiy, 86, in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine.

Lina was with a neighbor a few doors down when her home was hit by shelling. She rushed home to find her kitchen destroyed, but her husband Prokofiy, fortunately, safe and sound. Despite desperate conditions and below freezing temperatures, the couple continues to support one another and describes their marriage as the highlight of their lives. With their home now repaired by UNHCR, they have moved back in  alongside their chickens and dog. War might break walls, but a love like this is shatterproof.

Here's how you can help …

Together, we can ensure love is supported with warmth and shelter this winter, not defined by cold and uncertainty. Please donate today to give warmth and security to refugees who have lost nearly everything to violence and persecution.

Feb 12 2019
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