Malaysia

War has forced millions of families to flee their homes

This is the most urgent story of our time

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They are the real ‘soldiers’ - fighting for an uncertain future despite the adversity.

I wonder how many shattered dreams and broken smiles are hiding behind those young and innocent souls. War, death, violence and reality happened too soon for the children and they do not deserve to live like this.

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Jacenta James, Volunteer

I can only imagine what the refugee children are feeling or are going through. Leaving their country for good is one of the hardest decisions anyone can be forced to make. It […]

I am very glad to have got involved in this project of educating the children. I pray for them everyday.

I am a teacher at the ABC Learning centre, in Kulai, Johor. I started to teach in this school by chance last January. I never had a chance in life to get close to a refugee, …

Their courage is admirable.

It is an emotional and eye-opening experience to sit and listen to the stories and incredible suffering of refugees. It makes one appreciate the simple things in life such as having a safe home and future.

Malaysia: Escape to Hardship

Malaysia: Escape to Hardship

  Length: 3:00 Views: 16

I can’t compare Malaysia to home. There is a saying that is “There is no place like home”...

I can’t compare Malaysia to home. There is a saying that is “There is no place like home”, the things that I used to do, the language that I used to speak, the families, my neighbourhood, I can’t find them here. The friends I had in Somalia, I consider them my family, and I grew up with some of them. You can’t replace such things with another but […]

Kate Stricklan, Volunteer

Time and time again, I learned of parents protecting their children to the death, offering themselves up so that their sons and daughters might escape the terrorist’s grasp.

We have all the freedom to go and do whatever we want, yet they have none

The experiences interacting with them have definitely made me think of ‘what if I’m in their shoes?’ I don’t know if I’m able to survive much less carry on each day in a country that isn’t my own, but that country that is my own has instilled the fear in me that I would not want to return.

Patrick meets Puan Jainabbi

I personally feel that the refugees, especially the elderly, need the support from society as they have no family to support them and they are not able to work to earn a living.

When we see books and pencils in our hands instead of weapons, Ali, Pakistan

My own country is where kids wait and are excited for the morning to carry their bags, and go to schools, and where they found armed mens on the gate of the schools to stop them and where they see on their eyes when their schools are destroyed and blown up by Taliban’s.

I was not afraid to die, everyone dies.  But at that time, I felt like I was not ready to die.

I was forced into labour and mistreated by the Burmese soldiers but I thought of a solution: I might die here if they continue treating me like this so I should run away. I was not afraid to die, everyone dies. But at that time, I felt like I was not ready to die. I need to take care after my parents and wife.

Yacoub’s Story, Bangladesh

If Yacoub is lucky, he will survive the dangerous journey and find a low-paying job in the informal sector in Malaysia, from where he can send remittances back to his family…

An experience of a life time, Veronica, volunteer

I have never worked or even known a refugee but ever since I started working with Myanmar Rohingya Muslims in a UNHCR school for refugee in Kulai, Johor, I realised that it is a huge challenge. We have children 16 years of age who can’t read or write but have the zeal to study. But this is a […]

Kat Graham tells Ibrahim's story

Kat Graham tells Ibrahim's story

  Length: 3:11 Views: 788

Aspalynna Mohd Aripin, Volunteer

Most of the [refugee] children who received a McDonalds Happy Meal decided to not eat their meal but wanted to take it home to share it with their family.

Muhammad Hisyam Abdullah, Volunteer

What touched me the most during the time that I spent with the refugees is their friendliness and eagerness to strive for success, against all odds.

I kept thinking, what did I do wrong?

I faced a lot of persecution and discrimination in my homeland, when I was in school and in my workplace. I was forced to leave for Bangladesh and then, to Malaysia. From all my experience, I realised we all are human beings. But I feel like I am not a human being, I don’t have value. I have no dignity or worth.

Steven’s Story, United States

In 2008, my family and I ran away from my country because of religious issues. From there, l started the kind of life that I have right now.

Neil Gaiman talks about Syrian refugees

Best-selling author and UNHCR High Profile Supporter, Neil Gaiman, has just returned from Jordan seeing UNHCR’s frontline work with Syrian refugees.

When I first came, I didn’t feel that afraid but the more I stay here, the more I fear.

I feel like sometimes I don’t belong because when I go for job interviews, they say “No, we only want locals.” I feel like sometimes as a refugee, I have no rights. Sometimes, the police stop will stop us randomly and look at our nail clipper and say “What are you doing with that?”

We want to live equally in society and also, do good things for the country.

I ran away in February 2010. I knew that if I didn’t run, I would be killed. After I ran, the soldiers harassed my family and asked them for my whereabouts. My family also ran away soon after that. I am not angry, but I am just so sad. We deserve human rights.

Tan Szee Ling, Volunteer

By understanding what happened to their families and how they were forced to flee from their home country, I strongly felt that we should lend a hand whenever we can.

In Myanmar, it was as if we were underwater, we couldn’t breathe.

We just had to leave. In the morning, we were alive but there was no certainty in the evening. I feel heartbroken because they destroyed our masjid, our young children, our houses, our properties. It was very painful, very painful. I didn’t want to stay there anymore.

Ted Adnan, Photographer

I had met Bosnian refugees in Malaysia years ago when I was working at a university in the 1990s, and they were very much welcomed by the Malaysian Government and given assistance. Years later, I met a boy who told me he was from Myanmar, begging for money at a café where I was eating.

 I saw the fear in their eyes.

As a reporter, we want to share others’ stories and concerns with our readers, hoping to reach as many people as possible. We strive for balance and fairness, trying to portray all sides and give everyone a voice, which is sometimes difficult because one side may not want to speak up. But above all, we always collect the stories told to us – all of which touch us and stay with us.

1 family torn apart by war is too many

Learn more about our work with refugees at UNHCR.org