Mevan: "Volunteers can make a big impact"

"I was a refugee for 5 years in the 90s and this man, who worked at a refugee camp near Zwolle in the Netherlands, out of the kindness of his own heart bought me a bike. My five year old heart exploded with joy. I just want to know his name. Help?", tweeted Mevan (29) from London. A small gesture from this man with a big impact for her: "I felt seen, appreciated. That is so important if you have not felt safe for many years as a refugee child."

The tweet it all began with

Go to Mevan's Twitter-timeline and be surprised by all the fantastic, loving responses to her message. People with a refugee background respond en masse with beautiful stories about how kindness changed their lives.

 

"How big you have become!"

"Egbert opened the door and said something - unintelligible to me - in Dutch. Then he immediately gave me a kiss on the cheek and a big, long hug. It instantly felt familiar. I don't have that with people very quickly. But this man, with his open and friendly face, immediately summoned that within me. "Mevan found, thanks to a tweet that went global immediately, within a few hours the man she had never forgotten since her childhood. He worked in an asylum seekers' center in Zwolle in the 1990s. "We then chatted like family members who hadn't seen each other for a while, about anything and everything. About my mother, my work, his family. And of course he also said: how big you have become!"

Much misery left behind

"My search is not really about the red bicycle. It's about the gesture, being kind to someone. If I was feeling down, I would always think back to Egbert and his gift. "The Kurdish Mevan and her mother fled from the regime of Saddam Hussein from Iraq and were on the road for four years. "It was normal for me that we never stayed anywhere. When we finally arrived at the center for asylum seekers, we had experienced so much misery. In the Netherlands, thanks to people like Egbert, I discovered that there was still goodness in the world." Through the viral tweet, she also came into contact with Sandra, who taught her to work on the computer in the refugee camp. "So beautiful, because that was the start of more. I now work in tech!"

Ripple effect

Mevan's positive message was picked up by media around the world, from the Times of India to the BBC and de Stentor (a local Dutch newspaper). She wants to use these channels to emphasize how much you can mean for refugees. "Volunteers from the Dutch Council for Refugees, you are my heroes! In times when big, abstract problems are rampant, you still have the power to make a big impact with a small gesture. Not only large protests and campaigns make the difference. Volunteers who are kind to people who have fled, who allow children to be children again, that has a ripple effect that goes so far. Thanks to Egbert, I was not "the refugee", that girl with a trauma. His kindness laid the foundation for a life after being a refugee, finding my own identity."

You can help with us with a donation

Refugees have a right to a fair asylum procedure, and subsequently access to adequate housing, education, health care and work. The Dutch Council for Refugees is an independent, non-governmental organization that defends those rights. You can help with us with a donation.

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