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”Hannah has a twin brother who is still in Syria. She misses him a lot. I am her uncle but I take care of her like a father. Hannah is only seven but she is incredibly smart and she can’t stand injustice. The situation in Syria became too much for her. When her grandmother and I left,
her parents decided it was best for her if she would come along. She still misses her parents a lot and I obviously cannot replace them but I try to be here for her. Luckily she is a very strong girl. Strong like a lion.”
Hannah, 7 years old, from Syria (Berlin, Germany)

 

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”My name is Marianne and I am exactly seven years old. I was born in Somalia. I am in Germany, for almost one year now and I like it here. I am learning German in school and I like it. My biggest dream is to own a bike one day. Here at the facility, we do have bikes but I want my own bike. Maybe then, if I bike really fast, I will be able to fly.”
Marianne, 7 years old, from Somalia (Berlin, Germany)

”Now that I live here, everything is different. I can become friends with both boys and girls, I can play soccer and I can wear whatever I want to wear. I love the traditional Afghan dress that I am wearing now. However, back home people would tell me to change my shoes because they are boys shoes. Here people don’t care if I wear these sneakers under a dress. My biggest dream in life is to set up a school for girls in Afghanistan so they can learn how to read and write. I want all the girls in Afghanistan to know that they can do anything boys can do.”
Madina, 16 years old, from Afghanistan (Brussels, Belgium)

 

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”Leaving them behind was the hardest thing I ever had to do. The situation in Syria was no longer bearable. I had no idea where I was going or whether I was going to survive the journey. I knew it would be dangerous so I decided to go by myself and have my family come over as soon as I would have something to offer them. As I had expected, the journey was really harsh. When I arrived in the Netherlands, I decided to stay. I was able to skype with my family but I missed holding them in my arms so much. I couldn’t focus on learning Dutch because I was thinking about my wife and children all the time. During the first months I stayed in an old prison building and I applied for asylum. After 8 months, having secured status in the Netherlands, I was able to start the procedure for family reunification. Day and night, I was busy to get my children and wife over here. Then the day came when they arrived at the airport. A friend of mine came along to capture the moment that I could finally see my sons and wife. Watching that video still breaks my heart. Now that they have been with me for a few months, I feel that our life can finally take off. What kept me going during the entire journey was the thought of that moment when I would finally hold my boys in my arms again. I just want them to grow up in a safe environment. Right now they are getting used to the life over here. I am just happy to see that they are very normal kids who love animals and playing games. I am so happy that they can have a future and no longer have to worry about bombs dropping from the sky.”

*Time and Majd, 4 and 5 years old, from Syria (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

 

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”I have only been in an airplane once and that is when we arrived here from Somalia. In the airplane, I felt butterflies in my stomach the whole time. When we arrived at the airport, I finally saw my dad again. I had not seen him for a very long time. So I ran up to him and hugged him really tight. A while back, I saw a movie about a stewardess and she looked so pretty and smart that I decided I want to become a stewardess as well. I want to be able to travel, see Paris and have butterflies in my stomach.”
Manaal, 14 years old, from Somalia (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

 

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1/2”My first day here in school I only knew how to say: ‘Bonjour’. I was really lucky because there was another Kurdish girl in my class so I had someone I could speak with. Now I speak really good French and I have made a lot of other friends but she remains my best friend. Last Friday we had to elect a class president. I wonder what I will have to do when I am president but a lot of kids voted for me. That makes me really proud.”
Roussel, 10 years old, from Syria (Lausanne, Switzerland)

 

2/2”When I am not in school my sisters and I, we play this game where all three of us are secret agents. Than we wake up our grandmother and we hide behind the curtains. She is really smart because she always finds us. When I am alone in my room my favorite thing to do is dancing. I also love dancing with my sisters and friends. When we are grumpy or sad we dance. It lifts our spirits.”
Roussel, 10 years old, from Syria (Lausanne, Switzerland)