World Refugee Day: Refuge, Dreams & Freedom

According to the UNHCR, at the end of 2020, 82.4 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide, including 20.7 million refugees – people who have crossed a border seeking safety – and 48 million internally-displaced people, who have been displaced within their country of origin. IsraAID has been at the forefront of international efforts to respond to this truly global crisis, working with refugees and displaced people in Colombia, Germany, Greece, Kenya, South Sudan, and Uganda.

Our work with refugees begins with emergency relief, before shifting towards promoting longer-term integration and resilience. We focus on empowering displaced communities and always include refugees as integral members of our teams in each of these places, running sustainable programs to build resilience, combat gender-based violence, advance child protection, improve sanitation, and offer livelihood opportunities.

For World Refugee Day 2021, we asked our teams in Greece and Germany to shift the usual perspectives we hear about refugees and ask our refugee participants and facilitators to take photographs of what they want to share. After discussions around concepts of freedom, dreams and reality, and refuge, the refugee community participants produced a set of photographs around two interlinking themes – “Realities of a Dream Come True” and “What Does Freedom Mean to Me?”. Each photograph has been taken and captioned by refugees IsraAID works with in one of three locations – Diavata Refugee Camp, Thessaloniki, and Frankfurt:

Diavata Refugee Camp


The person who took these pictures is 30 years old, from Afghanistan. She left Afghanistan in 2019 and has been in Greece for two years. She lives in the Diavata refugee camp with her husband and daughter. She is hoping she will be able to study at university.

“The border between dreams and realities”

“Chasing a wish”

“Freedom of condemnation of hijab”



The person who took these photos is 36 years old. He arrived in Greece from Afghanistan in 2019 and lives in Diavata with his family. He hopes for “a good, quiet life, away from problems, with a good job for myself and the best environment for my children to study.”

“Big dreams, grim reality”

“The view is boring but the heart is hoping to be free”

“My only safe haven – for what sin?”


These photos were taken by refugee participants in IsraAID’s programs in Thessaloniki:

“In the air”

“Sett(l)ing down”

“Now the sea is safe”


Frankfurt, Germany

N- is 28 years old from Afghanistan. She now lives in Frankfurt, Germany, and is a participant in IsraAID Germany’s programs:

“Freedom to me means that I can go to school and to work without having fear. Fear of explosions and fear of being raped on the street. Freedom to me means that I will not be discriminated because of my faith and my race, and that I have the same rights that all human beings have.”

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