When the war in Syria began in 2011, Elsie Aroyan was working as an elementary school teacher in her hometown of Aleppo. But instead of teaching a lesson one day, Elsie would learn one that would change the trajectory of her life.
“My husband and I were in a remote city visiting our relatives when the situation in Aleppo became worse and we couldn’t go back home,” she says. “When I closed the door of my apartment 8 years ago, I thought I would be leaving for a week, but ended up leaving my home for good.”
Farah Nassef, 26, knows how easy it is to lose everything and be driven out of your home.
“One of my relatives was forced to leave the country to avoid the forced military conscription of her sons. She left her house, friends, and the life she had built up for decades due to the devastating consequences of the war,” Farah explains.
Countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea have witnessed some of the highest levels of migrations over the past few years, leaving millions of migrants and refugees in need of critical assistance and life support.
On 21 June 2017 Ojulu, a refugee from Ethiopia, first arrived in the Kalobeyei settlement. The move was part of a camp consolidation and closure exercise that saw the relocation of non-Somali refugees from the Dadaab complex to the Kakuma refugee camp in Turkana County.
“When I first arrived in Kalobeyei everything was new. I left my work, family, friends in Dadaab and was entering a new place,” Ojulu explains.
In August 2017, the humanitarian situation in the Rakhine State of Myanmar triggered a large influx of Rohingya civilians to cross into Bangladesh to Cox's Bazar. Since then, an estimated 655,000 Rohingyas refugees have crossed into Bangladesh, increasing the total Rohingya population residing in the Cox's Bazar area to over 866,000. The speed and scale of the refugee influx has resulted in a critical humanitarian emergency that is being handled by UN agencies, other humanitarian partners and volunteers.
According to UNHCR and IOM’s latest report, the number of Venezuelans leaving their country has reached 4 million. Globally, the report also reveals that Venezuelans are one of the single largest population groups displaced, with a number of refugees and migrants that has increased by one million since November 2018.
The opening ceremony saw entertainment in the form of group dances and musical interludes and included speeches from funding and implementing partners and the local government. Similar to the first facility launched last year, this centre boasts meeting rooms and halls with a capacity of 220 seats, a solar powered lightning systemand two sports fields.
What was your UN Youth Volunteer assignment?
My UN Youth Volunteer assignment in 2013 was as a WASH Specialist for UNICEF in Burundi. I was based in the capital Bujumbura and supported various aspects of UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene programme, mostly targeting rural areas of Burundi. My tasks included among others the follow-up of emergency relief activities for returning refugees, the supervision of partner organizations and contractors who implemented project activities and the development of proposals on WASH innovation.
With a population of over 50 million people and borders with eight different countries – it’s safe to say the United Republic of Tanzania is an important player in the East African region.
The United Nations plays a significant role in Tanzania, with 23 UN agencies working closely with the government to implement development and humanitarian activities – including the hosting of over 300,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.