Khaled Hosseini tells Alan’s Story

Khaled Hosseini visits Syrian refugee and straight A student Alan and his father Mohammed in Darashakran camp in Iraq.

Khaled Hosseini, Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, visits Syrian refugees in Norther Iraq

Khaled, Alan and his siblings. Photo by UNHCR/B. Sokol/2014.

Before the family fled Syria, Mohammed and his wife would often have to skip meals so that their children could eat. Despite risk of starvation, Mohammed admits that he only fled because of his children; Alan dreams of being a doctor or engineer. As he explained, “I didn’t want to damage their learning, their education, so I didn’t have any other choice. But if it wasn’t for my children I would have accepted the hunger and everything else and stayed in Syria.”


Photo by UNHCR/B. Sokol/2014.

The family is grateful for their shelter within the camp, and is thankful for the provision of healthcare and education. But fleeing has been an undeniably painful process. Alan’s father Mohammed was forced to leave his mother in Syria. As Alan told Khaled, “Home means mother to me.”


Photo by UNHCR/B. Sokol/2014.


1 family torn apart by war is too many

Learn more about our work with refugees at