Family’s sacrifice for hope of future
Dad forced to put boy, 11, on refugee boat to flee Syria conflict Wife and daughters left in war zone
Standing on the shores of Turkey for a final picture, this was the last time Hassan Ibrahim and his 11-year-old son were together before the boy boarded a refugee boat to Europe.
Hassan sent his son, Ibrahim, across the Mediterranean in the hope of a better life in Germany, where the government will fund his education.
The rest of Hassan’s family, including his wife, two daughters and mother, remain in war-torn Syria, while the 37-year-old works as a construction supervisor in Dubai.
It’s a situation that is sadly all too common and, according to a new survey, one in four UAE residents knows someone like Hassan whose life has been affected by humanitarian crisis or natural disaster.
“I am happy he is safe, but seeing Ibrahim again seems impossible,” Hassan told 7DAYS.
A new YouGov poll of more than 1,000 people, commissioned by the Dubai humanitarian supply firm NRS International, show a quarter of UAE residents know someone who has been directly affected by conflict or natural disasters in the Middle East. The findings were released to coincide with World Refugee Day today. Young Ibrahim escaped Manjeb in northern Syria on a refugee boat that took him to Turkey first then to Germany. Like many expats, Hassan came to the UAE to support his family financially 10 years ago, before war broke out in Syria. Now separated and split across three countries thousands of miles apart, he hopes he can one day be reunited with his family - he cannot afford to bring them to the UAE. Hassan added: “I’m happy Ibrahim is away from the violence in my country. But, now, seeing him again seems impossible. I pray that one day we will meet again.” As of June 2, UNHCR reported that there are 4,840,555 registered Syrian refugees - this includes those in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and those registered by the government of Turkey and North Africa. The YouGov survey also found that 43 per cent of UAE residents donate more than $100 (Dhs367) per year to a humanitarian cause.
TOUGH DECISION: Ibrahim travelled to Turkey to put his son on a boat to Germany for the chance of a better future
REFUGE: Young children at a UNHCR camp