When we talk about the problems that face the world, we often discuss them in magnitude and numbers. We speak of millions displaced, hundreds of thousands dead, and many wounded.
However, what is often lost below the melee of statistics and news headlines are the stories of the individuals who endure these tragedies. Their personal experiences are what humanize all of the numbers and talking heads.
22-year-old Majd Bayoush was driven out of his hometown of Kafranbel, Syria by war. Desperate to start a new life abroad, he was smuggled to Europe via a long and dangerous underground railway.
He first travelled overland to Turkey, and then took a dangerously overloaded inflatable boat from Turkey to the Greek island of Samos. Once in Greece, he was registered with the Greek authorities and held in a migrant detention center.
After his release from the migrant detention center he began a perilous and exhausting overland journey from Greece to Germany. He trudged on foot over mountains and through forests in the bitter European cold.
Despite his tribulations, Majd was one of the lucky ones. He reached his destination of Hamburg…alive.
Majd’s story is just one of millions of stories about migrants risking their lives over sea and land to have a chance at a better life.
June 20th marks World Refugee Day. The commemoration is an opportunity to pause and consider that, with 50 million displaced people worldwide, today's refugee crisis is the biggest since World War 2.