By: Gisella Lomax, UNHCR | 18 January 2017
Yusra Mardini, the Syrian swimmer who inspired the world at last summer’s Rio Olympic Games, has made an impassioned appeal to global leaders in Davos to ensure vulnerable refugees like her are given more than basic support.
“With food for our stomachs, refugees can survive. But only if they are given food for the soul will they be able to thrive,” Yusra, 18, told a high-profile side event at this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF).
“But there are different kinds of nourishment. There is the love of your family and your friends – and maybe they are still in the war zone, or maybe you got separated from them as you fled the violence.”
Yusra, a strong supporter of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency was speaking at the ‘Global Goals Dinner for a Healthy Not Hungry, Inclusive World’ event, co-hosted by the World Food Programme, UNICEF and Project Everyone.
“As a refugee, you know what it is to be hungry and thirsty… If you are lucky enough to reach a place of safety, you are given food, water and shelter. And of course without those things you cannot survive,” she added.