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When Somaia fled Syria with her family, she never expected to find herself alone with her young son in a foreign city. But at age 33, after never having lived on her own, she and six-year-old Aboudi found themselves marooned in Athens.

“All my family is in Norway or in Germany. I can’t stay here,” she thought. “In my culture, if you are a single mum with small children, you can’t stay alone.”

A Palestinian who grew up in Syria, Somaia fled the devastating civil war there with Aboudi and 12 other family members. It was a long and dangerous journey, first on foot out of Syria into Turkey and then on a boat across the sea to Greece.

"I feel I am free now. I feel I have a future."


Ali Abdul*, a 28-year-old senior policeman, fled Afghanistan with his pregnant wife and two young sons.


They travelled safely to Greece, but got stuck there. His wife and two sons were eventually able to travel to Germany, where his wife gave birth to a third son who was diagnosed with a number of serious medical conditions. There, his wife struggled to cope alone with a sick baby and two small children.


Ali applied several times for permission to join his family in Germany, but was unsuccessful until assisted by Refugee Legal Support, who filed an urgent application for family reunification, which was granted by German officials. He was able to join his family in October, just 3 months after RLS helped him file a claim.

*All names have been changed to protect identities.

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