Faces of Families Caught in the Refugee Crisis

Photo by Andrew McConnell for CRS

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This is the story of refugee families and how circumstances beyond their control put them on an unimaginably arduous journey. Many of their faces show the strain of their current situation. But others reflect hope and resilience.

Over the past 4 years, Catholic Relief Services has worked with our Catholic Church partners across the Middle East to provide emergency relief to hundreds of thousands of war-affected Syrians.

More recently, CRS scaled up our response to the European refugee crisis in the Balkans. Since the summer of 2015, we’ve served more than 70,000 people, primarily in Greece, Macedonia, Croatia and Serbia.

The crisis in Syria is one of the greatest humanitarian crises today. Please keep these families and all refugees in your thoughts and prayers, and give generously if you are able.

You can become a voice for refugees. Urge Congress to provide vital assistance for refugees and support strong U.S. leadership to end the war in Syria.

Millions of refugee families are in critical need of the most basic essentials: food, shelter, medical assistance, and education and trauma counseling for their children. Photo by Andrew McConnell for CRS
In Europe, CRS and our partners are preparing refugees for a long, cold winter with essentials like warm clothing, sleeping bags and mats, food rations and clean water. Photo by Andrew McConnell for CRS
Sabriya and Ghullamali, with daughter Hasti, seek rest and refuge at the Caritas Athens Refugee Center on their way to Germany. Their two older children, both teens, traveled to Germany unaccompanied almost a year ago. The center is helping the family reu
We met Ibtissam, Adel Rahma and Ibrahim near the Croatian border in Serbia. The three siblings from Damascus, Syria, had been traveling for 2 weeks from their temporary home in Turkey. Photo by Andrew McConnell for CRS
For many refugees, the flight to Europe is a last resort. The war in Syria has killed as many as 250,000 Syrians and uprooted 11 million people—half the country’s population. Photo by Kira Horvath for CRS
Families, although relieved to have made it to a safe continent, are physically spent. Few stop at refugee sites or transit camps for long. They rest for a few hours, maybe a day, determined to keep moving. Photo by Kira Horvath for CRS
A Syrian father covers his daughter with a homemade plastic hood to protect her from the cold rain. Photo by Kira Horvath for CRS
Children, who comprise more than half of the Syrian refugee population, are paying the heaviest price. Many have witnessed violence and the loss of homes or loved ones, and the vast majority have been out of school for most of their childhoods. Photo by K
With no end to the conflict in sight, Syria’s children are in danger of becoming a lost generation—children deprived of the education and skills they need to one day rebuild their country. Photo by Kira Horvath for CRS
Many children show severe signs of trauma and depression. Thanks to the generosity of people like you, CRS is providing tens of thousands of Syrian refugee children with education support. Photo by Kira Horvath for CRS
Older siblings play their big sister or big brother role, even in tough conditions. Photo by Kira Horvath for CRS
A moment of tenderness captured at park near a bus station in Belgrade. Photo by Kira Horvath for CRS
Zaineb plays with her 1-year-old daughter, Maria, at a Belgrade bus station while waiting for transportation to the Hungary border. She had been traveling for 22 days and hoped to reach Sweden where she has a brother. Photo by Kira Horvath for CRS
CRS Chief Operating Officer Sean Callahan holds 11-month-old Siad from Syria as his family prepares to cross the border from Serbia into Croatia. The family of five hopes to reach Germany. Photo by Andrew McConnell for CRS