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Former child refugee tracks down aid worker who gave her a bike

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13 Aug 2019
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By Roger Thorp
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Former child refugee tracks down aid worker who gave her a bike

 

Former child refugee tracks down aid worker who gave her a bike

Former child refugee tracks down aid worker who gave her a bike

Mevan Babakar uses Twitter to find man whose gift brought her joy more than 20 years ago

Amy Walker

Tue 13 Aug 2019 17.43 BST Last modified on Tue 13 Aug 2019 17.58 BST

Kurdish refugee children in 1991. Mevan Babakar lived in a refugee camp in the Netherlands after she and her parents fled the Gulf war in the 1990s. Photograph: Patrick Baz/AFP

A former child refugee is to meet the camp worker who gave her a bike, after her online callout to find the man who brought her joy went viral.

Mevan Babakar, 29, lived in a refugee camp in the Netherlands after she and her parents fled the Gulf war in the 1990s. On Monday, she posted a photograph of the former camp worker on Twitter, and asked if anyone could tell her his name.

“This man, who worked at a refugee camp near Zwolle in the Netherlands, out of the kindness of his own heart bought me a bike. My five-year-old heart exploded with joy,” she said.

The tweet was shared more than 7,000 times in 24 hours, leading her to find the man and other refugees he had helped.

Babakar, who now lives in London, will thank the man in person. She told the BBC that he now lives in Germany.

She tweeted: “Was asked what I’d do if I found him. Honestly I’d cry my eyes out. There was so much hardship at that point in our lives and this was such a generous act, it taught me kindness can exist everywhere, no matter how terrible it may seem.”

Babakar said another camp worker, Sandra, whom she credits with helping her to use a computer for the first time, also got in touch after seeing the tweet. She said: “I’ve also had other refugees reach out to me and tell me that him and his wife helped them too. Their kindness has touched so many lives.”

Her family, who are Kurdish, travelled through Turkey, Azerbaijan and Russia before spending a year at the camp near Zwolle between 1994 and 1995. They eventually moved to London, where they settled.

Gulala Rashid, Babakar’s mother, told the Dutch website Destentor that the man had gifted her daughter a “beautiful, red, shiny bike” after inviting the family for Christmas at his own home.

Babakar, a fact checker, is currently on a sabbatical from work while she retraces her refugee journey.

Former child refugee tracks down aid worker who gave her a bike

Mevan Babakar uses Twitter to find man whose gift brought her joy more than 20 years ago

Amy Walker

SOURCE : THE GUARDIAN


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