Every minute, 20 people around the world leave everything behind to escape war, persecution, and terror.
They flee in search of a safer place for them and their children, often seeking asylum in other countries.
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Meet Mohammed, Maysa, Usef, Ahmed, and Hoshang.
They all escaped the conflict in Syria, finding shelter in a camp in Iraq.
Despite everything, they’ve managed to regain a sense of normality by doing the things they were doing before the war started.
Read their stories.
Before the conflict took away his livelihood, Mohammed owned a successful barbershop in Syria for 17 years.
After settling in the refugee camp, he opened a barbershop and spent some of his savings renovating it.
Continuing to cut hair gives Mohammed a purpose and helps him regain a sense of normality.
This is who I am. This is what I do.
Soon after Maysa and her family settled in a refugee camp, her husband became ill.
That meant he could no longer provide for the family. Maysa decided to open a shoe shop to earn some money and make a living in the camp.
The money goes toward preparing her family for winter and making their shelter warmer. Winters in Iraq can be incredibly tough, with temperatures dipping well below freezing in the night.
I am proud that I can support my family, even if by support I mean survive.
Hoshang has been a professional tailor for more than 15 years, having trained at a very young age.
Although life’s not easy at the refugee camp, Hoshang is trying to support his family by practicing the skills that have been part of him long before the conflict had started.
When asked what his future plans are, he said, “I want to go home to Damascus.”
People don’t become refugees because they have a choice, but because they have to.
Usef used to live in the Kurdish region of Syria, where he successfully ran his own shop.
After settling in the camp, he decided to set up another shop, selling children’s clothes to other families in the camp.
Making a living in the refugee camp is difficult for Usef, but he is making the most of the situation.
Finding a way to return to familiar routines and create a community helps create a sense of normality.
Ahmed was farming his land right before the conflict in Syria forced him to flee.
He studied to become an electrical technician, but he didn’t have enough money in Syria to start his own business.
He’s been fixing washing machines and AC units for families in the refugee camp. He usually gets items or skills in exchange for his work.
There’s barely any work for him in the refugee camp, but doing what he’s doing helps Ahmed feel like part of a community again.
I would like to go back to Syria when it’s peaceful because it’s home.
What We're Doing
ShelterBox works to build peace one family at a time by providing emergency shelter and basic supplies that provide a space to feel safe, to have privacy, to heal, and to start the long road to recovery.
Right now, we’re helping families caught in some of the world’s most extreme conflict zones. Read about our current deployments: