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

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Sar­wat Nasir @Sar­watNasir

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

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