If you’re wondering how you can help people and make the world a better place, this story proves that it’s the small actions that sometimes have the biggest impact.
Mevan Babakar lived in a refugee camp near Zwolle in the Netherlands during the 1990s, and is currently taking a year off work to retrace the journey her family took whilst fleeing Iraq.
For those wondering here what five year old Mevan looked like. This was my fifth birthday in the refugee camp in Zwolle. She doesn't even know that an incredible bike is coming her way aaaany day now! pic.twitter.com/caZ6NGFh55— Mevan | میڤان (@MeAndVan) August 12, 2019
One of Mevan’s strongest memories from the period in Zwolle is of a kindly man who worked at the camp, and bought Mevan, then aged 5, a bicycle. Keen to reconnect with the man, Mevan tweeted an appeal for help finding him, so that she could thank her hero in person.
“I just want to know his name. Help?”
WE FOUND HIM!! A thread 👇👇— Mevan | میڤان (@MeAndVan) August 13, 2019
After 3000 RTs, 3 news articles, 1 video and thousands of wonderful messages from around the world, @Arjen78 made contact with the family!
Guys, I knew the internet was great but this is something else. https://t.co/H4qmL1uVqQ
After 24 hours and many thousands of retweets, likes, tags and comments, Mevan was re-connected with the man, Egbert, who now lives in Germany and has been helping refugees for years.
This is Egbert. He's been helping refugees since the 90s. He was so happy to see me. He was proud that I'd become a strong and brave woman. He said that was his wish for me when I was small. He grows orchids. He has a beautiful family. He said it felt like I'd never left. pic.twitter.com/WlDWm2seVh— Mevan | میڤان (@MeAndVan) August 13, 2019
Egbert remembered Mevan and her mother, and the three of them hope to stay in touch and meet up again in the future. “My mum is very excited to meet him,” Mevan said, adding that Egbert had told a local German journalist that if there was anyone he would like to see again from his time working at the refugee camp, “it would have been Mevan and her mother.”
Egbert remembered Babakar and her mother from all those years ago, and the three of them plan to stay in touch and meet up in the future. “My mum is very excited to meet him,” Babakar said, adding that Egbert had told a local journalist that if there was anyone he could have seen again from his time working at the refugee camp, “it would have been Mevan and her mother.”
Reflecting on her experience, Mevan said “I felt like our refugee story was something that happened to me, not necessarily something that I owned,”
“There were many parts that I remembered, and many parts that I didn’t. I wanted to color in my memory of that period, and rethink it as an adult.”