Childrearing

Refugee Boy Discovered Alive A Year After His Parents Thought He Drowned

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Refugee Boy Discovered Alive a Year After His Parents Thought He Drowned GettyImages 514341488 280x186 jpgUNICEF estimates that at least a quarter of refugees seeking asylum in Europe are children, and many babies and children have been killed just trying to make the journey. Probably the most famous is 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who tragically drowned off the coast of Greece in September. His story was tragic, and he was not the only small, innocent casualty. It is not a safe journey, and many people die attempting to make the crossing from Turkey to Greece. In the context of all that death, one refugee family just got the best news anybody has probably ever received: The child they thought drowned off the coast of Greece and have been mourning for a year was just discovered alive and well in Switzerland.

According to The Local, last year 9-year-old Mahdi Rabani was trying to travel from Turkey to Greece with his parents and siblings, but dozens of other refugees were trying to do the same thing, and the boy got lost in the crowd and separated from his family. His parents watched in horror as the boats they thought he was on sank into the ocean.

The family looked for him in Turkey, and then went on to Germany, and they never found any word of him.

Convinced their son was dead, the family went on in Germany as grieving families do. But a heroic young Red Cross worker whose parents had been refugees from Libya kept looking and was miraculously able to track the boy down and found him in Switzerland (but he looked in Germany, then Austria, first.)

Once he was located, the boy was reunited with his family in Germany. As a parent, I cannot imagine that his mother is ever going to stop crying.

“The feeling is beyond words,” the boy’s mother said. “I am so happy and grateful that the Red Cross helped us.”

Mahdi’s rescue is heartwarming, but there are a lot of missing refugee children out there. 5,000 refugee children have been reported missing since January. Hopefully some of them will have endings as happy as this boy and his family.

If you are looking for a way to help, here are several NGOs that are helping with the refugee crisis, and here is one organization specifically looking for gently used baby carriers to help refugees who will need to carry infants and toddlers long distances on foot.

(Photo: Sylvain Lefevre / Getty Images)

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