Red Cross volunteers put humanity first in Croatia

Published: 27 October 2015 17:00 CET

By Croatian Red Cross

More than 200,000 vulnerable migrants have arrived in Croatia since mid-September on their journey to safety. Ever since the mass arrivals had started, the volunteers and staff of the Croatian Red Cross have been providing humanitarian relief to vulnerable migrants including food, water, hygiene items and clothes.

In addition to tangible items, vulnerable people are assisted in finding lost family members and receive critical psychosocial support. Through these activities, volunteers and staff of the Croatian Red Cross meet wonderful people and hear their life stories every day. The story told by Ali and Fatima has touched everyone who has heard it.

Fleeing home for the second time

Ali Husain, 56, from Syria met Fatima Musa, 58, somewhere in Turkey. Fatima told Ali that she had left Somalia to escape war and famine. She decided to look for a better life in Syria, and ended up living there happily and peacefully for 12 years. Unfortunately, violence threatened her life again and she was forced to flee her home for the second time.

Her fate touched Ali deeply. “I cried when she told me her story. I promised to be her mother, her father, her brother and sister,” he says. “I promised to be her family. I decided to help her to reach Germany, her dream destination.”

A long and difficult journey

The journey for the pair has not been easy. Fatima became ill and couldn’t walk by herself, so  Ali carried her on his back for part of the journey with the support of his brother. It took them four attempts before they were able to reach Greece.

Unfortunately, their bad luck did not end there. Fatima was robbed as soon as they arrived on one of the islands. Ali promised to search for her bag across the whole island. To Fatima’s great relief and gratitude, he succeeded in his quest and she got her meagre but valuable belongings back.

Their journey has now taken them across mainland Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia to Croatia. Despite their exhaustion, they are immensely grateful for all the support they have received both in Croatia and throughout their journey.  

“We are grateful for all the help we have received in Croatia. We wish to thank the Red Cross for giving us food, water, clothes and warm words. Thank you for seeing and treating us as humans,” Ali says emotionally.